Web-safe fonts are a set of fonts that are widely available across different operating systems, browsers, and devices. They are considered “safe” because they have a high likelihood of being pre-installed on most computers and devices, ensuring that the text on a webpage appears consistently and as intended by the web designer.
In the early days of the internet, a limited set of fonts were commonly found on most computers. Some popular web-safe fonts include:
- Times New Roman
- Courier New
- Trebuchet MS
Using web-safe fonts was especially important in the past when web font embedding technologies, like @font-face or Google Fonts, weren’t available or widely supported. These technologies now allow designers to use a much broader range of fonts, which are loaded from external sources when a user visits a website.
However, web-safe fonts are still relevant today as fallback options, in case custom fonts fail to load or to ensure faster page load times. By specifying a web-safe font in the CSS font stack, designers can ensure that the text remains legible and maintains a consistent appearance across different devices and browsers.