October 22, 2009 - Comments Off on Cufon: A Real Alternative to Sifr?

Cufon: A Real Alternative to Sifr?

I’ve just finished reading an excellent blog post from Cameron Moll about Cufon, an emerging technology for font replacement on the web.

At Bloom, we’ve experimented with using Sifr for font replacement, however, personally I always try to avoid using Sifr unless it’s an absolute necessity. It usually seems to cause me as many problems as it solves. In fact, I would go as far as saying I hate Sifr! I find it complicated to setup and time consuming to update. I can often be heard muttering expletives when I’m trying to get Sifr to behave properly.  This is probably due to the fact that I’m a designer, not a developer.

Cufon appears to be as simple to set up as declaring a couple of scripts in the head, uploading a font file and adding a few lines of CSS. Even I could do that without furrowing my brow too much!

However, Cufon does have one major, major drawback compared to Sifr and that is font licensing. Cufon violates EULA (end-user licensing agreement) and copyrights due to the fact that fonts are uploaded or embedded.

Apparently, with a bit of jiggerypokery, unscrupulous characters can actually copy and download the font you have embedded on your site, the Type Foundries are understandably not happy about this.

Put simply, it would appear it is illegal to use Cufon for font replacement. This isn’t just a drawback, it’s a complete showstopper. However, towards the end of his blog post Cameron mentions that talks are ongoing with the powers that be and he is optimistic about sorting out the licensing and security issues. If this can happen then typography on the web will have made another huge leap forward.

Until then I’ll have to stick with Sifr and turning the air blue as I try and get the [email protected] thing to work!

For a more detailed breakdown on Cufon, have a read of these: