Some weeks ago I did a test to see how fonts look in a browser when they are not optimized for that. The result was that rendering and legibility was sometimes poor on Windows. Now that the IE9 Platform Preview is out, it’s time to do the test once more.
For those who read my article on font rendering of professional fonts were surely disappointed to read that their fonts would most likely not render well in browsers on Windows if you use the CSS technique @font-face.
At the moment your best chance of getting a font rendering well in a browser is by buying or renting one from a font foundry like FontFont or Ascender, who optimize their fonts for the web. Fonts that aren’t optimized most likely will not render that well.
Well, there is some good news. IE9 uses Direct2D and DirectWrite and it seems that it does a much better job at font rendering as you can already see in the example on the left. So although we will still be very much dependent on those optimized fonts until the predecessors of IE9 have finally faded away, there is light on the horizon.
Its very exiting to see that the font rendering improved so much. Just look at the zoomed in part of the letter ‘g’:
Some notes on rendering
Not very surprising, but sometimes the rendering of a piece of text in IE9 can result in something that’s significant wider than in IE8:
You can still find some rendering glitches like you can see here:
Just to make it absolutely clear: the fonts in these examples are converted without any hinting improvement.