Cufon is a javascript application that can be added to HTML web pages in order to display the designer's chosen font to the viewer, regardless of what fonts the user might have installed on his personal computer.

Cufon emerged as a serious contender to sIFR and image replacement techniques for displaying rich fonts on web pages in 2008. The Cufon project had four major goals that it sought to achieve in order to provide a significantly better experience than sIFR:

  • No plug-ins
  • Cross-browser compatibility
  • Simple setup and usage
  • Speed, even for large amounts of text

In order to achieve goal #1, the Cufon team chose to eschew the flash dependency that sIFR had and use emerging vector graphics capabilities in the modern browsers (for once, this included Internet Explorer, which has had vector rendering since version 5.5). First, a custom interface to Fontforge converts and existing TrueType or OpenType font into an svg object, which is then converted to a javascript vector object. The javascript executes and draws the font either with HTML 5's Canvas element or with Microsoft's VML framework.

The replacements are made right over top of the existing text, which is then hidden with CSS, allowing the markup to remain semantic. Because neither flash nor images are required, Cufon is extremely fast, and fully backwards-compatible in case the relevant technologies are not enabled in the browser.

Until @font-face gains traction, I will continue to use Cufon, as it offers the best performance and easiest setup of any of the font-replacement technologies out there.

Cufon at Github
Examples of several different fonts rendered with Cufon

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.