FutureSplash had recently been acquired by Macromedia, and in the days of 28.8k modems speed was everything. Vector graphics promised an interactive and infinitely zoomable visual experience, all at a miserly file size because they were so much more efficient than bitmap images, the only kind of images you could get on the web.
Fast-forward to a friendlier future, and bandwidth is back on the cards, because now it's all about mobile first. Somebody far cleverer than me — perhaps Brad Frost? — tweeted that text is vector. Wow. I dropped all my scattered thoughts in a clatter on the floor and pondered those words again:
Text is vector
Even better than that, Jon Hicks wrote a 24 Ways post about displaying icons with fonts. Using @font-face and icon fonts, you can create scalable, colourable, drop-shadowable and adorable icons. Font Squirrel is a magnificent site where you can download your very own custom web fonts, drawn from a wide selection of dingbats.
Font Squirrel offers web fonts free for commercial use. Handy.
Heck, you can even create customised, cut-down versions with Fontello.
Fontello allows you to create custom icon fonts. Spectacular and bandwidth-saving.
And then, to top it all, those clever folk over at Oak Studios have created Symbolset, which is a collection of semantic symbol fonts. Using the mystical powers of OpenType fonts and the magic of ligatures,
love can be transmogrified into ♥. But copy ♥ and you copy
love. Give it a go on the website.
The Symbolset website lets you create semantic symbol fonts.
A picture may be worth a thousand words but vectors, through the power of text and fonts, have shifted the balance.