Downloadable fonts and image replacement

The CSS Working Group has been discussing downloadable fonts ("web
fonts") and the interaction of font choice and image-text replacement
recently. We want to move this discussion to www-style, and this
message is intended to kick off that discussion here. We spent an
entire teleconference arguing over the best way to ask for your input,
so you bet we want to hear it!

Background info

   CSS2 defines, as part of @font-face, a syntax for specifying
   downloadable fonts. It's been partially implemented in several HTML
   and SVG UAs already. See

   It looks a bit like this:

     @font-face {
         font-family: "Swiss 721";
         src: url("swiss721.pfr"); /* The regular Swiss 721 */

   but can associate the font with other descriptors like
   font-weight and unicode-range as well.

   CSS3 will include content-replacement on all elements, not just
   pseudo-elements. See the <uri> definition in

   It lets you do things like this:

      /* Use image, failing that use element's content. */
      H1 { content: url(sparkly_heading_text.png), contents; }

   instead of various creative hacks like on

Some of the issues under consideration

    Downloadable fonts in general -
      - Protecting font designers' IP (good fonts are labor-intensive)
      - Security problems (fonts can contain executable code)
      - Performance problems (download multi-megabyte CJK fonts?)

    CSS syntax and functionality -
      - Do we need other/better/shorter syntax?
      - Interaction with other parts of CSS (e.g. font-style)
      - Specifying archived (e.g. zipped) fonts
      - Other functionality?

    Fonts and image replacement -
      - What if I want to use the image *only* if my special font cannot
        be downloaded/is not installed on the user's system?
      - Accessibility considerations for image-text replacement


For the CSS WG,
  Bert Bos                                ( W 3 C )                               W3C/ERCIM                             2004 Rt des Lucioles / BP 93
  +33 (0)4 92 38 76 92            06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France

Received on Monday, 24 April 2006 14:56:19 UTC