Archiving of digital fonts and foundry websites for the future?

Kayley HillKayley Hill Posts: 27
edited November 2016 in Font Technology

Went to an interesting conference in Exeter a couple of weeks ago called the Graphical Web. There was one bit of particular interest (though it was more a side discussion to the actual talk), and that was in regards to bit rot and archiving of websites and digital information.  Now yes there are things like the Internet Archive which is trying to archive the whole web, and yes there exists places like the Type Archive older fonts. But both of these have issues and do not lend themselves to the preservation of digital fonts and associated material.

Is there anything or anyone that is trying to archive digital fonts and in particular the websites of the foundries that created them? Ans is this something that should even be pursued?


  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 992
    edited November 2016
    Glad you brought this up, Kayley! It’s an important and fascinating topic. The Internet Archive is doing a pretty good job with web pages that include webfonts. See, for example, a 2013 version of, and the now defunct Once in while, however, the fonts (and subsequently the page designs) are lost when the files are served by an external source rather than the same domain as the given website. We've been discussing this challenge at Letterform Archive, which exists to preserve letterforms of all kinds. We’ve partnered with Internet Archive on other projects, so I hope we can put our heads together on this one.

    Meanwhile, projects like Fonts In Use – where we publish screenshots of websites and other media that use digital fonts, as well as biographical entries for each typeface family – can serve as a partial record. But this doesn’t replace the need for a comprehensive archive which captures the dynamic nature of digital type. With the advent of Variable Fonts, the only way to have a complete archive is to store the files themselves.
  • Kayley HillKayley Hill Posts: 27
    edited November 2016
    Hi Stephen! Random question, has there ever been any discussions between the Letterform Archive and the Type Archive? Since both on each side of the atlantic are attempting similar missions?

    On another note, which was mentioned in another topic has a great idea in the categorising of type specimen sites.

    Also I have to say I envy you guys in San Francisco, you have some great organisations promoting long term thinking and preservation. With the Letterform Archive, Internet Archive and the Long Now Foundation.

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