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Thanks for the tips – this is very helpful!
The flash of unstyled text is probably my biggest gripe with font-face, apart from the actual weight payload required.
I knew base64 encoding in the CSS was possible, but I didn’t like that option as the fonts end up being very large, like you said. The font optimization makes sense, assuming you don’t change the text often. If you do need to change the text, you will have to add more characters and reoptimize the font, which I could imagine could be a bit of a pain.