Chris Lilley CV


I'm a Technical Director at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), with specific involvement in Web Fonts, CSS, and Web Audio. I am a co-author of PNG and played a pivotal rôle in the creation of SVG, the development of CSS @font-face and the worldwide success of downloadable fonts with WOFF 1.0 and 2.0, for which I was a recipient of a Technical Emmy at the 73rd Tech Emmy awards in 2022.

I'm the W3C representative to the International Color Consortium (ICC). Earlier, I was a member of the W3C Technical Architecture Group and co-author of Architecture of the World Wide Web, volume 1 with Tim Berners-Lee, Roy Fielding, and others. I was the first chair of the Fonts, CSS, and SVG Working Groups at W3C, and co-editor of the CSS2 and SVG 1 specifications. I'm co-author of five books in the field of Computer Graphics, and have given over 80 talks at conferences worldwide.

Work experience

  1. Jul 2008 - present

    Technical Director, W3C

    Overall technical direction of interactive, user-facing Web standards. W3C Strategy Team, Core Web Design.

  2. Jul 2006 - Jul 2008

    Domain Lead, Interaction Domain, W3C

    Managerial responsibility of Interaction Domain staff.

  3. Aug 2006 - Feb 2010

    Rich Web Client Activity Lead, W3C

    The first attempt to integrate multiple languages such as HTML, SVG, MathML, XForms and custom markup. Namespace-based approach, eventually closed down in favour of HTML5.

  4. Apr 1996 - Dec 2014

    Graphics Activity Lead, W3C

    Overall responsibility for graphics standards - notably PNG, WebCGM, SVG.

  5. Apr 1996 - Feb 1997, Mar 2010 - Dec 2014

    Fonts Activity Lead, W3C

    Creation of the @font-face specification (later merged into CSS2), then responsibility for downloadable font formats WOFF 1.0 and WOFF 2.0.

  6. Mar 1995 - Mar 1996

    W3C Advisory Committee representative, JISC

    Representing the digital, networked needs of the UK Higher Education sector to the W3C.

  7. Apr 1991 - Mar 1996

    Technical Author & Electronic Teaching Specialist, University of Manchester, UK

    Responsible for the research, writing, illustration and field-testing of training materials on Computer Graphics, used throughout the UK Higher Education sector.

  8. Apr 1986 - Sep 1989

    Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer, Departments of Haematology and Transfusion Science, Falkirk Infirmary.

    Diagnostic blood testing, transfusion cross-matching, emergency on-call coverage, computer analysis of diagnostic data.


In 2021 I was nominated for a Technology and Engineering EMMY® award for my work on Web Fonts, which started in 1996 with a requirements document and continued through the creation of the CSS @font-face and the development of the WOFF 1 (2012) and WOFF 2(2018) downloadable font formats. Taken as a set of technologies, this resulted in global deployment of downloadable Web fonts moving from 0% (2010 and earlier) to 80% of the top 10 million web sites (2020).

In April 2022 I was honoured to accept this Technical Emmy award on behalf of the W3C WebFonts Working Group, for Standardization of Font Technology for Custom Downloadable Fonts and Typography for Web and TV Devices.


I have given over 80 talks in twenty countries over the last 25 years, and have spoken at some of the most prominent international web development conferences, including giving opening keynote addresses. Recent topics have included:

A full list of talks is available, with links to slides, video, and papers as appropriate.

Judging & reviewing

I have served on the program committees for:

I was the technical reviewer for Chris Coyier's book Practical SVG, published by A Book Apart.

Selected Publications



Web Standards and other specifications


  1. Sep 1993 - Apr 1994

    Postgraduate Diploma, Bioinformatics; Global Network Academy/University of Bielefeld, Germany.

    This course used then-new electronic techniques such as the World Wide Web for course delivery, and multi-user interactive chatrooms(MOO) for tutorials. I was a 'consulting student' (teaching assistant) on this course, my interest being in the technologies used as well as the course material.

  2. Sep 1989 - Sep 1990

    Master of Science, Biological Computation; Univeristy of York, UK.

    Thesis: Browser: A tool for interactive examination of large Modula-2 programs.

    An intensive computer science conversion course. Distinction.

  3. Sep 1978 - May 1983

    Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry; University of Stirling, UK.

    Honors degree.

Technical skills

I have a broad understanding of the full Open Web Stack of technologies, including:

I also have experience with a wide range of programming languages and technologies, including Pascal, Turbo Pascal, FORTRAN, Modula-2, Modula-3, Ada, C, Arduino/C++, JavaScript (ES6, together with the DOM & related APIs), Z80 and ARM Cortex assembly.


Professional memberships

From April 1987 to September 1989 I was an Associate of the Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences. From April 1992 until March 1996 I was a Member of Eurographics UK chapter. I am currently an Individual Member of the International Typographic Association (ATypI, Association Typographique Internationale). I am the W3C representative to the International Color Consortium.

Professional interests

Computer Graphics, primarily 2D, with special interest in technical illustration, interactive graphics, and scientific visualization. Typography, in particular advanced and non-Latin typography. Color theory and color management, particularly as it pertains to the Open Web; Open web standards, in particular the socio-political process of successful standardization. Compound documents and appropriate choices across the content-presentation gradient. Technical communication (writing, illustration, discourse).

Research interests

Information visualization. Color measurement, color appearance modelling, psychological and biological aspects of color vision. Sound synthesis, in particular subtractive and additive synthesis, sonic modelling, analog synthesis, novel microcontroller-based performance interfaces, sonic visualization.