Variable Fonts, a streamlining and efficiency movement in website typography.

by Stan Walker

These are exciting times for both web developers and designers. In a world where performance is everything, any opportunity to decrease load speeds and improve optimisation is surely a great thing.

Webfonts have come a long way since the days of only having a dozen or so to make the most of. Horrors such as Arial and Georgia have been replaced with a huge, diverse and ever increasing selection from the likes of googlefonts. However traditionally, web designers must balance the aesthetics of their creations, with the demands of data and download speed hungry fonts. Each webfont must be downloaded as a separate file, for each width or style, which can add considerable demands on bandwidth, causing a conflict between creation and development.

Variable fonts could, in theory, see an end to this.
Instead of requiring each width and style of each font to be downloaded for use, a variable font will only require one, and it is that file that will be adaptable to display the desired width or style desired by the website. In short this will lead to creativity, rather than limitations such as download speeds guiding our choices.

These are groundbreaking days in the history of digital typography.