Getting Baskerville on a website – price and licensing options

Left: Baskerville. Right: Baskerville.

Web fonts are an interesting mix of technology and intellectual property licensing.

I’m almost surprised that we, as a culture, have managed to pull it off, overcoming all the hurdles. But there are now several companies and methods to use typefaces on websites. I checked out the current options.

I’ve been looking for a new web font

Just having learned that Baskerville is the king of fonts (!), I thought it’d be interesting to try on my two Rails sites (WebLaws.org and OregonLaws.org). Currently they use Helvetica Neue for text, and I feel ambivalent about it. On one hand, it’s a beautiful font. But on the other, it’s the standard font on iOS, and while it’s stylish, it’s not so unique now. It also has problems with readability that I blogged about in detail.

Options I found for inexpensively trying Baskerville on a web site

Font Deck

  • License: 1,000,000 page views per month on unlimited subdomains.
  • Cost: $12.50 for one font weight/style per year.
  • Pure CSS, hosted font files: URW++ foundry’s Baskerville T.
  • Normal, italic, and bold would be $37.50/year ($3.13/month)

Baskerville FS by FontSite foundry

  • License: unlimited web usage
  • Cost: $13 one-time payment
  • Pure CSS, own the font file, host it yourself
  • (I don’t know the FontSite foundry – do they make decent fonts?)

ITC New Baskerville Roman by Linotype foundry via fonts.com

  • License: 250,000 page views per month, unlimited fonts, unlimited web sites.
  • Cost: $10/month.
  • Many other Baskerville fonts here as well.

Buenard

  • License: unlimited commercial web use, SIL Open Font License
  • Cost: free
  • Javascript + CSS, hosted on the Google Web Font system
  • Looks similar to Baskerville
Related Post: Testing the fonts

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