In the web 2.0 world, you may wonder if there is still a place for free glitter fonts and other flashy web graphics. The text-only world of HTML gave way, pretty quickly, to flaming 3D animated gifs, then to flash, and now to CSS codes and scalable vector graphics providing stylish modern websites.
A Little Goes a Long Way
Actually, free glitter fonts and other kitschy images do have a place on websites. The internet has been around long enough so that some sites now take people back to the "good old days," or have a "retro" look. That's where glitter and splash can be quite useful in personalizing a website.
Titles and Headings and Nav, Oh My
The thing to remember is that glitter fonts need to be used sparingly. They are like spice added to a meal - they are never the main part, but instead only used to bring out the flavor of the other parts of the site. For example, you can use them in the main banner of the site, planting the name into the user's mind with a flashy glitz that they'll remember long after. Or, the font can be used to delineate sections of content, providing headers or even excerpts of text.
This kind of decoration for text can make the difference between a website that welcomes the viewer and one that is either too busy or too boring. Another place to use glitter fonts would be as image-swap highlights for navigation bars. Whatever the use, remember that the "glitter" means that the font is probably actually a gif created in a graphics program such as Photoshop. This means that you need to make sure to include the alt tags so that search engines can pick up on the headings and other text.
To Animate or Not to Animate
It may be tempting to use an animated gif or flash animation to create a really glittery and visually attractive word or two, but that will be interesting and eye-catching for only a very short time before it becomes overly eye-catching and annoying. In addition, even slimmed-down flash animations take up a lot of bandwidth, and the immense programming flexibility of the platform could be much better used in other aspects of the interface, such as navigation. If you do insist on having an animation, make sure that it either only plays once or that it only "twinkles" every once in a while - not constantly.
Where to Find Free Glitter Fonts
One of the places where many glittery and flashy fonts are used are on sites such as MySpace. Some websites cater to this need, such as Sparklee and Webfetti. Ranging from individual words, such as the one you see above, or entire badges, these sites do almost all the work for you. Using a series of drop down menus, you can customize message, graphics, and even images that have an added "sparkle." Best of all, most sites like this will also automatically generate the necessary HTML code for you to embed the graphic in your site. Keep in mind, they will also often try to embed hidden advertising in the site as well - not everything is completely free, after all.
Making Your Own Glitter
For those who are more experienced with graphics programs, downloading a font and creating your own glittery words may give you more control. Many professional companies offer various fonts for free as "samples" of their more expensive wares. One great source of this is Chank. For example, their Ballers Delight font is about as glittery as they come, created using actual pictures of tiny glass beads that form letters. These fonts are free, and you can scale them up or down as needed.
Other sources of free fonts, glittery or otherwise, include DaFont or Urban Fonts. Unfortunately, while these are places to get quality fonts, there are also many "dummy" sites that claim to offer free fonts, but are really just nested advertising schemes. A simple Google search will provide you with a wide variety of both, but be prepared to take some time to hunt for just that one perfect glittery font.