Google Web Fonts for Print Design

What are the real disadvantages (if any) when using Google Web Fonts for print design?

I'm seeing many designers using Google Web Fonts not on the web only, but also for the corresponding print job (logo designs for example). Besides the fact that web fonts are not designed/optimized for that task, what are the real disadvantages (if any), technically? I'm not thinking of missing glyphs due to subsetting or kerning pairs, I was wondering about hinting and other similar features when those fonts are used in InDesign, Photoshop and so on.

Comments

  • SiDanielsSiDaniels Posts: 229
    edited October 2014
    I don't think many of the Google web fonts were originally conceived as "web fonts" in the same way as say Verdana and Georgia. They are a collection of previously unreleased student designs, UI fonts made professionally and some commissions and acquisitions. So they are probably no worse for print than the majority of what you find on MyFonts.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 817
    edited October 2014
    I agree with Si, I don't think there are any unusual disadvantages.

    'Technically', hmm. The vertical metrics would be different if the primary build target was InDesign (see https://code.google.com/p/googlefontdirectory/wiki/VerticalMetricsRecommendations for details) but I believe InDesign and MS Word do okay with what is used.

    Many of the fonts published in 2011 don't have kerning, because at the time web browsers didn't support it. Kerning is now included in the more recently launched fonts and in updates to those older ones.

    I expect people use the TTFs downloaded from the www.google.com/fonts site; there are OTFs in the Mercurial repo at https://code.google.com/p/googlefontdirectory for many of the families, and print designers prefer OTFs. So only having super convenient access to TTFs could be seen as a disadvantage... (Although I understand that this preference is because old RIPs tended to choke on TTFs - and I'd hope that isn't such a big issue today...)

    The fonts that _were_ designed 'for the web' - say www.google.com/fonts/specimen/Basic - having wide spacing and are a bit skinny on the weight... but those are being slowly updated to become much more like print designs, as screen resolutions have increased (mainly driven by the increasing percentage of web users who are on mobile/tablets.)
  • > (Although I understand that this preference is because old RIPs tended to choke on TTFs - and I'd hope that isn't such a big issue today...)

    This was briefly true in the early 90s. Unless somebody is running truly antique equipment that's > 20 years old, it's not an issue today. Mostly it persists as rumor and fear-mongering by people who really ought to know better. :(
  • Mostly it persists as rumor and fear-mongering by people who really ought to know better. :(
    Printers tell people this to keep them from using problem-prone free fonts that were created with entry-level software that only exports TrueType.
  • Could be. But the fault is not in the format. Plus, there are cruddy fonts out there in many formats.

    I suspect it is genuine ignorance of the nature of the problem. At least I hope there are not many printers who are saying to themselves “Let’s lie to the customer because the truth is too complicated.”
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