State of affairs: we have a multi-lingual web-project. We needed a freeware web font, free or cheap software for font editing and a way to do it all from our office, without any third parties.
We started off FTBpro.com with a cool web-font in mind – Days. The font had the most potential and our website’s design relied on it heavily. The font was never tested for language compatibility, up until the point front-end development was ready, and this is what gave us the most trouble…
Here is Days font:
Problem One—Days does not have the european characters such as À ß Æ Ñ etc.
Solution: I found a freeware software called Type light that has basic editing capabilities and added the missing characters one by one. This is an ongoing process and I still add a letter here and there.
Typelight has very limited editing capabilities (version 3.2) but I managed to sketch the needed serifs and combined different letters to make the missing one’s. I made a photoshop test-sheet to check if the letters are rendering:
Example: Extending the character 3 to a german sharp s:
Problem Two — missing characters change the font of a whole word
When the Days font was rendered in a sentence with a missing character, the whole word would render in a default font (Times New Roman) which looked something like this:
Solution: define a (standard) fallback font similar to the title font: in our case Helvetica and Arial Bold did the job.
Problem Three — the font has enough characters in OTF but the kerning in rendering is bad
To be exact this is a problem with conversion. Fontsquirrel web-font generator has many options for converting a font to a web-font kit, and some of them remove characters like the german sharp s (ß). Another problem we were having is with kerning (space between individual letters).
Solution: Finally it took us quite a white to get the web font to render well. Our own Alon Idelson went out for a hunt and found this online web font converter: http://www.fontconverter.org/ witch made the job well. Fontsquirrel webfont generator did not do a good job, in case you wondered.
Web fonts are definitely the future of web typography. There is already a ton to pick from. While using a freeware font is seductive, the consequences can be difficult to handle. Make sure you know what languages you are going to deal with in your project in the future, inspect the glyphs (characters map), and make sure the font you are using has them.