Great digital marketing includes keeping a consistency with your offline marketing collateral. This is somewhat trivial when it comes to colours and identities, however there's a catch; campaign or organisation typefaces can become the challenge.
Many people believe that any font found on Microsoft Word or downloaded from the internet can be used on a website. We hate to break it to you, but this isn't true.
Typefaces are only displayed on the website if the font (the actual typeface file) is present on the user's computer or the font file is uploaded into the website. Fonts typically used for the copy on websites are known as web-safe fonts; that is, typefaces where the fonts are most likely to be present on the widest range of computers. If that font isn't on the user's computer, the browser will implement the next similar, alternative font, based on a list of fall back fonts or font families.
For many years, web-safe fonts were limited to Arial, Courier New, Times New Roman, Comic Sans, Impact, Georgia, Trebuchet, Webdings and Verdana. Thankfully, nowadays there are a number of alternative typefaces that web designers can now use. These alternatives usually work by a paid annual subscription method to a service, for example TypeKit. This allows typefaces that require a licence to be used on
websites. The majority of good fonts cost money (heck, it takes significant time to create a typeface) and are tightly controlled by copyright and distribution laws. One issue commonly experienced is including a font file on a website is viewed as distribution of the font, since users can usually download the actual file.
As well as paid subscription services, there are also free alternatives available, such as Google Fonts, which provides fonts with an open licence and are free to use and add to a website. There are a good selection of fonts through these free services, however if a fancy font is wanted, usually it will need to be purchased through a paid service.
So, before speaking to your digital agency about using that cool typeface you saw on a billboard, or sending over a font file from that recent presentation to the board, look at the font licensing, consider the impact and implications, and work with your team to find the right typeface that conveys the right message for your audience.