Easy way to make a microsite for a webfont?

I will shortly need to market a type family of mine outside of MyFonts. I figured a microsite showcasing the fonts and giving background information would be in order. Unfortunately, I have no experience whatsoever with HTML.

What's the easiest way to make a website that uses webfonts? I seem to remember that iWeb is problematic in that respect. I like WordPress for ease of use, but I believe one has to be a premium user to change a theme's font settings, and I'm somewhat reluctant to pay up for that before I know it will work. I could always post a bunch of PNGs on Bēhance, but that's a pretty noisy website, and it would be bitmap posters only.

Do you think writing a microsite in HTML from scratch might be worth considering anyway...?

Comments

  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,413
    Check out Pagelines DMS for Wordpress. Pagelines makes stuff that's worth the money.
  • Wow, Pagelines looks impressive! Maybe even a bit too impressive — I was only going to have a few pages with text and posters, nothing that fancy... though I'm envious of those parallax backdrops.

    Does WordPress with the Customize option already allow for the use of webfonts, or would that require plugins and programming ?
  • Hmmm, the default WordPress Customize option only allows to pick from a limited selection of fonts, so that's not good enough. I'd need a plugin.

    On the other hand, apparently Bēhance has just changed its layout to allow for much wider images than before. This should enhance the signal-to-noise ratio of such a page and allow for high-def demonstration of a display font. That's probably good enough, given that it's a free font family.
  • I've never had much luck with WordPress custom font plugin-ins but there's one called "Use Any Font" that works, but you don't have control over the conversion. But you can try one conversion for free.

    I've had templates that allow uploading custom fonts but they just don't work. I upload the fonts in every format and ... nothing happens. The only way I could get custom fonts working on Wordpress is to go into the code and do it myself. Responsive Wordpress templates are a house of cards: you change one thing, you break 10 others. And once you've edited the template, you can't update it unless you've made notes on exactly what you've changed. Somewhere there must be a template where the custom font feature actually works but I've never found it.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,413
    A good Wordpress template will allow you to add custom CSS. If you can't manage that on your own you need to hire a web designer.
  • Why not get your own Wordpress install and you can do whatever you want with fonts? I have to say, I almost have a hard time understanding what you are talking about, so easy was it to get webfonts and custom CSS to work with Wordpress.
  • What Indra said. Just download the WP install from wordpress.org, host it yourself, and you get to customize your heart out. (Exactly what I did for the FF Ernestine minisite, for instance)
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 878
    edited August 2015
    Thanks for the suggestions!
    If you can't manage that on your own you need to hire a web designer.
    I think this is the core problem here — I'm not actually a designer, and it would take me weeks to teach myself how to customize a WordPress installation and then actually design a microsite to live up to its potential. I don't currently have that kind of time on my hands.

    For now, my main concern is to get in a first round of public beta-testing before the typeface is committed to Google Fonts. For that purpose, I've put together a quick Bēhance page (no coding required there...) and a GitHub repo for the technical stuff. Given that it's an open-source typeface, I guess I don't need a professional-level marketing campaign to go with it.
  • Hire a designer. 
  • Indra KupferschmidIndra Kupferschmid Posts: 246
    edited August 2015
    Ah, you want to market your free Google font? Maybe some professional help is in the budget from what they paid you?
  • How much would that typically cost?
  • About the same as hiring a type designer, give or take.
  • > Ah, you want to market your free Google font? Maybe some professional help is in the budget from what they paid you?

    This is exactly what I did a few months ago. I already had a(n old) WordPress blog. So I hired a web developer to design a new template for it that would allow me to show the fonts I made that are libre (and some of the fonts I have worked on that are not).
  • Regardless of the platform, if you are not a designer you may end up spending a lot of time and energy trying to make your type look really attractive to designers, to no avail. You have to remember that your audience is designers, so it may actually be in your best interest to pique their interest with something really well-designed. That said, Indra mentioned it's a free Google font? So I'm not sure why you'd need to market it...
  • Dan: Do you have a link to that?

    Elizabeth: Yes, it's free. My motivation for marketing is mostly to increase the use of the face, which is what I'm after. In particular, I'd love to see it on the cover of a book one day!  :blush: 

    Given that the threshold to clear is "is it worth downloading" rather than "is it worth spending money on", even my ham-handed presentation should do the job, provided it doesn't actively misrepresent the typeface.

    I'm not opposed to investing some of my funding on professional aid, but I'd rather use it to polish the typeface itself rather than the marketing. I'm still pondering that part.
  • Dan ReynoldsDan Reynolds Posts: 89
    edited August 2015
    @Christian Thalmann: Well, my whole site, really. But here are links to the libre faces: http://www.typeoff.de/webfonts/martel-sans/http://www.typeoff.de/webfonts/biryani/

    You write, “I’m not opposed to investing some of my funding on professional aid, but I'd rather use it to polish the typeface itself rather than the marketing. I’m still pondering that part.” I think that it is good to do both! The two options that you mentions are not mutually exclusive.

    @Elizabeth Cary-Smith: I agree with Christian that fonts funded by Google could benefit from their designers promoting them, be that on Bechance, on their own websites, or on micro-sites. There are already so many fonts in that directory. I think that if you want anyone to find your own & consider using them, then it is better to try and find a way to show what they can do yourself, rather than hope for developers to pick them at random from the 100s (soon probably 1000s) of designs that are available on google.com/fonts/. There are a few typefaces in the Google Font Directory that I quite like, and I would be more likely to recommend them when web developers ask me about fonts to use, if I had a URL that showed them in use well.
  • Since your source is already on GitHub, you might look at using their "GitHub Pages" feature as an alternative to WordPress (https://pages.github.com). If you're only going to need a few pages for a one-off site that will be updated infrequently, just hosting static HTML/CSS/WOFF files on a service like GitHub's is plenty.

    If you can enlist a few hours of developer/designer time, I'd recommend this is a less complex option to maintain.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 767
    edited August 2015
    There are a few typefaces in the Google Font Directory that I quite like, and I would be more likely to recommend them when web developers ask me about fonts to use, if I had a URL that showed them in use well.
    There are a few sites that show the fonts in use, like this:
    There are also some 3rd party font directories, which could have better specimens. Here's 3 libre ones:
    Christian, I second Jack's recommendation to use Github Pages. As libre fonts mature in Github, I expect to see more and more such 'family microsites.' Here's 3:
    Specifically I recommend designing a page in whatever tool you are happy with, and hiring a web designer to execute it as a single static HTML page. This is a straightforward project that will take someone with the experience you know you don't have just a couple of days, and won't be too expensive. 
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 878
    edited August 2015
    Github Pages sounds like a good idea in terms of hosting.

    Dave: Thanks for the examples, some of those are really nice! Although they also reveal some glitches; see the two attached kerning problems... I wonder whether the font or the microsite is to blame there...? And while I absolutely adore the splashscreen on the "swiftday" link, some of the content on the left-hand side gets clipped at my default browser window width...

          

    Specifically I recommend designing a page in whatever tool you are happy with, and hiring a web designer to execute it as a single static HTML page. This is a straightforward project that will take someone with the experience you know you don't have just a couple of days, and won't be too expensive. 
    Isn't the design of the page the difficult part, though? If I have to come up with that, it's probably not going to end up much fancier than my existing Bēhance page.


  • it's a free Google font? So I'm not sure why you'd need to market it...
    Font users benefit from seeing examples of the fonts in use.

    Since I'm able to arrange higher fees for libre font projects than a few years ago, I'm asking designers to make libre font families not only higher quality type but also to provide additional value in the form of such micro-sites, and other educational resources for the type community. 
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,413
    it's a free Google font? So I'm not sure why you'd need to market it...
    Font users benefit from seeing examples of the fonts in use. 

    And it’s just fun and healthy to make specimens. If all you do is draw type you’ll end up even crazier than I am.
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