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Is the Myriad Pro font web safe and free?

 
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The short answer is "no": the Myriad Pro font is not web safe and it's not free of charge.

Myriad is a family of Adobe fonts, that ships with Adobe software products such as Illustrator, Photoshop, and Adobe Reader. Even though most computer users have Adobe Reader installed, the font is for use only within Adobe Reader — Reader does not install Myriad to the user's font directory. For those who don't have any Adobe software, they can purchase a license for the font. But that is of no use if you're creating a web site and you want visitors to your site to see text in the Myriad font face. In addition, purchasing a license is expensive, starting at $35 for a specific font weight and style, up to over $900 for the full Myriad Pro family! I highly doubt that purchasing a license for Myriad Pro gives you permission to embed the font on your website, but you can check with Adobe Corporation attorneys on that one, or read the fine print of their license agreement.

So, given that purchasing a $900 license for Myriad Pro doesn't solve things, here are some practical alternatives for your consideration:


OPTION 1. Put Myriad Pro at the top of your "font stack", so that anyone who happens to have Myriad Pro installed will see it:
If your site will mainly be visited by other designers, most of which will have a copy of the Adobe Suite installed on their computers, then most will also have the Myriad Pro font installed. If you use this option, make sure to have "fallback" fonts listed after Myriad Pro, so that those visitors who don't have Myriad Pro will see the site with your alternative font. Make sure to test your site so that it looks good in either case:

Test your site without Myriad Pro, to make sure it looks good for those who don't have the font:
body { font-family:arial, helvetica, sans-serif; }

And also test it with Myriad Pro (make sure you have it installed on your computer). This will be the version of your code that goes live:
body { font-family:"Myriad Pro", arial, helvetica, sans-serif; }

Note: you can combine this approach with the approach described below, that of embedding a free font which looks similar to Myriad Pro. So that Myriad will be at the top of your font stack, and if the visitor does not have Myriad Pro, it will use the similar looking font of PT Sans instead:
body { font-family:"Myriad Pro",PTSansCaptionRegular, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; }

This is a good option, but requires more testing than if you have an embedded font at the top of your font stack. This is because you can be sure that some visitors will be seeing the site with Myriad Pro, while others will be seeing the site with PT Sans, thus requiring you to test the look/feel of both fonts.

OPTION 2. Embed a free font that looks like Myriad Pro:
Using a technique described at my custom fonts page, you can embed into your site a free font that looks similar to Myriad, such as the Vegur font available at FontSpace.com: fontspace.com/arro/vegur.

A good site where free fonts are available, along with the all-important font license, is FontSquirrel.com. Of all the options on this page, if I had to choose one alternative, I'd recommend Font Squirrel.

Here's an example of CSS which uses the PT Sans font from Font Squirrel which looks similar to Myriad Pro:
body { font-family:PTSansCaptionRegular, arial, helvetica, sans-serif; }

You should test the site to make sure that it looks good with the fallback font of Arial, but if your code is working correctly, all visitors to your site should be seeing it with the embedded font (PT Sans in this example).

OPTION 3: Use the Google Web Fonts service.
Google Web Fonts is a service offered by Google which allows you to choose from many fonts. It's currently (October 2012) a free service. For example, Google has an alternative to Adobe's Myriad Pro called PT Sans (the same font mentioned in "Option 2" above): google.com/webfonts/specimen/PT+Sans.

Keep in mind, though, that using Google Web Fonts adds somewhat to the page size / load time: google.com/webfonts#UsePlace:use/Collection:PT+Sans

This is a hosted solution, which means that the font files are stored on Google's servers. So that's something to keep in mind. If you don't like the idea of your site contacting the Google servers, then don't use this Google service.

OPTION 4: Use a paid, hosted service that lets you use the official Myriad font.
Adobe has its own font service, TypeKit, which allows you to include many non-web-safe fonts on your site. The cost is $25 or $50 per year depending on how many sites you have, the number of pageviews,etc. Here's one person's review of TypeKit: "My Love-Hate Affair with TypeKit"

Adobe's partner WebINK provides a subscription-based font service also, the cost is currently $20 or $50 per year, depending on the type of subscription appropriate for you.

OPTION 5: Use only web safe fonts:
This is the option that most web sites use, but you won't have nearly as many fonts to choose from. So for example:
body { font-family:arial, sans-serif; }

TypeTester.org is a site that lists web safe fonts, and allows you to compare and view various fonts. If that site happens to be unavailable, a web search of "web safe fonts" will give you plenty of other links to check out for information.

OPTION 6: Cufón.
Cufón is a tool that lets you use any font on a web site, if you have a font license that allows you to do this. It uses JavaScript and SVG (scalable vector graphics). Using Cufón requires several steps, and it helps to have some web technical savvy. Cufón has so-so success in Internet Explorer, and from what I can tell, Cufón is a relatively short-lived option — if you search for it on Google Trends you'll see that it first appeared on the scene in 2009 but is already declining significantly in popularity. So for these reasons, I don't recommend using Cufón.

OPTION 7: Flash.
For animated banners and games, Flash is still a reasonable option for using any font that you have a license for. If you embed the fonts, the viewer of your Flash file does not have to have the font file installed on their computer. Flash is not recommended for creating your entire website, because it's a proprietary product, makes the site much more difficult to maintain, and Flash is not supported on the iPhone or iPad. Plus, with the advent of HTML5, Flash popularity is questionable as time goes on. So this option is not recommended.

In conclusion, you have options, but as mentioned above in "option 2", my current recommendation is to use Font Squirrel to embed a free font that they give you a license for. Or stick with web safe fonts, and who knows, hopefully the variety of web safe fonts will increase as time goes on.






 
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Last modified: 02/1/2014 3:45 PM