Characters are used to digitally represent natural language. The letter a is a character, and so is 永. A character can be drawn in many ways but still have the same meaning. These drawings are called glyphs.
Each font has a set of languages and scripts it supports. A script, or writing system, is a way of visually conveying spoken language.
Webfonts will never load as quickly as locally installed fonts. If that’s not acceptable to you, then perhaps you should rethink using webfonts.
It’s important to understand that a FOIT happens only when the fonts are downloading. So even if you load a stylesheet containing @font-face rules asynchronously, the font-loading will still block rendering.
A webfont performance budget should focus on three things: the number of font requests, font-file size, and time-to-first-render.
A base64-encoded font is up to three times larger than a regular font, though most of the size increase can be negated by serving the CSS file with GZIP encoding.
what matters most to you? That people read your content as soon as possible, or that people read your content in your preferred font? I suspect that many of your visitors would prefer the former over the latter.
The baseline experience of your site has always been, and will always be, just plain HTML and CSS. Webfonts enhance that experience.
That means there are two possibilities you should design for: when webfonts are not available, and when webfonts are available. For that reason, I believe FOUT should be the default behavior in all browsers.
Preloading every font on your site defeats the point of prioritizing one font over another: if everything is important, nothing is.
Don’t rely on browser defaults—hiding text from your visitors while webfonts are loading results in a terrible user experience. Always load your fonts asynchronously so they don’t block a page from rendering. In the worst case, your fonts will fail to load and your visitors will see fallback fonts. That’s fine. That’s how the web is supposed to work.
Always optimize your webfonts if the license allows it. Using the right font format and subsetting will significantly reduce a font’s file size and make it load faster.
Web design and development differ from other disciplines insofar as their environment is relatively uncontrolled.