NPM packages for Open Source typefaces — making it easier to self-host webfonts.
- Self-hosting is significantly faster. Loading a typeface from Google Fonts or other hosted font service adds an extra (blocking) network request. In my testing, I’ve found replacing Google Fonts with a self-hosted font can improve a site’s speedindex by ~300 miliseconds on desktop and 1+ seconds on 3g. This is a big deal.
- Your fonts load offline. It’s annoying to start working on a web project on the train or airplane and see your interface screwed up because you can’t access Google fonts. I remember once being in this situation and doing everything possible to avoid reloading a project as I knew I’d lose the fonts and be forced to stop working.
- Go beyond Google Fonts. Some of my favorite typefaces aren’t on Google Fonts like Clear Sans, Cooper Hewitt, and Aleo.
- All web(site|app) dependencies should be managed through NPM whenever possible. Tis the modern way.
Each typeface package ships with all the necessary font files and css to self-host an open source typeface.
All Google Fonts have been added as well as a small but growing list of other open source fonts. Open an issue if you want a font added!
Couldn’t be easier. This is how you’d add Open Sans.
npm install --save typeface-open-sans
Then in your app or site’s entry file.
And that’s it! You’re now self-hosting Open Sans!
It should take < 5 minutes to swap out Google Fonts.
Typeface assumes you’re using webpack with loaders setup for loading css and font files (you can use Typeface with other setups but webpack makes things really really simple). Assuming your webpack configuration is setup correctly you then just need to require the typeface in the entry file for your project.
Many tools built with webpack such as
Gatsby and Create React
App are already
setup to work with Typefaces. Gatsby by default also embeds your CSS in
<head> for even faster loading.
If you’re not using webpack or equivalent tool that allows you to require css, then you’ll need to manually integrate the index.css and font files from the package into your build system.
Adding other fonts
The easiest way to find out if your favorite typeface is supported is by searching on NPM or in the packages directory in this repo.
I’d love to see every open source font on NPM! Open an issue if a favorite typeface of yours is missing. I’ve programmatically published all fonts from Google Fonts and am planning on doing the same with fonts hosted on FontSquirrel through their API.
Other ideas to explore
- Add subsetted version of every font.
- Initially I’ve just added support for the Latin version of fonts.
Would love to hear ideas for how to support other languages. Perhaps
additional css files e.g.
- Ship fallback css helpers — figuring out your fallback css isn’t particularly easy. Perhaps there’s a way to automate this. E.g. if you’re using typeface X at fontsize Y with fallback font Z, here’s a function to generate the fallback css.
- Explore futher optimizations for loading fonts. https://www.zachleat.com/web/comprehensive-webfonts/ has a long list. Most require painful per-project scripting. What if the best strategies could be automated?