Get ready for magic morphing fonts in your browser
Chrome and Safari can handle OpenType Variable Font tech that should open up design possibilities while speeding website loading.
Stephen Shanklandprincipal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertiseprocessors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, scienceCredentials
I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
If you like websites that look polished and load faster, good news: A technology called OpenType Variable Fonts is about to arrive.
, Google and Apple created OpenType Variable Font technology in 2016 so designers and website developers could customize their typefaces. A font adapted with the technology essentially comes with a bunch of sliders that let people pick just how they want it to look.
Designers can fiddle with parameters that make letters bold, with thick letter strokes, or light, with narrow ones. Or they can change the size of serifs, the doo-dads that cap the ends of some letters. Or make the strokes of the each letter hollow. Or make the letters wide or narrow. Or... you get the idea.
The technology can speed up website loading because one font can serve multiple purposes, saving on download times. For example, Apple likes its San Francisco font a lot, and one incarnation of it could be used for bold, short section heads and another for lighter, longer blocks of text.