Image entitled Typography courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

We revealed last week our new responsive ads feature, and we’ve received a great reaction from you since.

This week, we’re hoping for the same. Today’s second post in our three-part series on Flite’s take on native is on Style Inheritance.

Before delving into what this intriguing term means, let’s rewind and explore some of the considerations you might be facing in building native ads:

  1. We know that the whole point of a native ad is to conform to the environment it’s displayed in; true conformity means inheriting the entire look and feel of the publisher’s site. Without adopting the characteristics of the ad’s surrounding environment, the value of the ad is chipped away—it stands out more than intended, becoming disruptive to the user experience. It’s essential to ensure this doesn’t happen.

  2. In order to achieve this conformity, one of the key aspects in building an ad is making sure the font matches with the publisher’s font—or the ad may stick out like a sore thumb. But fonts can cost a small fortune. Publishers and designers often pay up to thousands of dollars for a typeface, and generally speaking it’s just not possible for this amount of money to be spent on an ad.

Enter in Style Inheritance. Our new feature will enable an ad built in our Design Studio HTML5 to point to the publisher’s CSS file (which describes the look and formatting of the site), in turn adopting the fonts and style of the site.

To enable the feature, it’s as simple as copying and pasting the publisher’s URL into the Design Studio. Here’s a screenshot of what that looks like:

Design Studio will do the rest, inheriting the font files and other stylistic elements like color or imagery.

The result? An ad that takes on the appearance of the site it lives on. Here’s a before-and-after animation to help illustrate:

In the Before ad, you can see a generic font and color have been used; on its own, this doesn’t look too bad, but when you consider this ad against the background of a publisher’s site (and it doesn’t conform), you might think otherwise.

Now consider the After. Here, the Style Inheritance feature has been used, pulling font and color from a publisher’s CSS file. This results in a custom font and color that conforms to the site the ad lives on, producing a more native—and more interesting-looking—ad. What’s more, if the publisher decides to update its linked CSS file, the ad will automatically inherit the new updates without the designer having to touch the ad at all.

Style Inheritance is a simple and effective step towards native without the extra cost of buying fonts or generating image-based type. It’s still in early development stage, so we’re not quite ready to release it yet, but if you’re interested in beta testing, we’d love for you to join us. Please contact our Product Manager Alex Kim for further information.

Next week marks our last post on our native functionality with Datastream, the ability to tie a data source to an ad unit. Check in next week to find out more.