CSS: Visual Optimization
Illustration by John Hersey

Using font families


From:

CSS: Visual Optimization

with Justin Seeley

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Video: Using font families

One of the ways in which we can improve both the load times and the cleanliness of our style sheets are to use something that I call a reasonable font-family. And what I am talking about here is the fact that a lot of people sort of overload the font families when they are declaring them in their typography and their CSS. So let us take a look here. I am just going to create a new CSS document and let us just say I am working on an h1 tag here. And so generally, when we talk about font-families, we are just talking about defining what font-families are going to be present, and you are most likely going to define one to sometimes three font-families that you think you need in order to create all these different fallbacks, so if someone doesn't have a certain font that falls back on another, if they don't have that, it falls back on another, and so forth, and so on.
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Watch the Online Video Course CSS: Visual Optimization
1h 11m Beginner Feb 12, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Take a tour of a workflow that optimizes CSS code for easier navigation, organization, and readability. In this course, author Justin Seeley covers best practices for writing CSS in an easy-to-read format, commenting code, developing a table of contents, and adopting other methods that help produce "cleaner" code. The course also contains tips for speeding up development with some online tools and simplification techniques.

Topics include:
  • Exploring good versus bad style sheets
  • Creating section headings
  • Indenting code for enhanced readability
  • Creating single- and multi-line comments
  • Avoiding unnecessary tags and classes
  • Creating master color and typography guides
  • Simplifying comments
Subject:
Web
Software:
CSS
Author:
Justin Seeley

Using font families

One of the ways in which we can improve both the load times and the cleanliness of our style sheets are to use something that I call a reasonable font-family. And what I am talking about here is the fact that a lot of people sort of overload the font families when they are declaring them in their typography and their CSS. So let us take a look here. I am just going to create a new CSS document and let us just say I am working on an h1 tag here. And so generally, when we talk about font-families, we are just talking about defining what font-families are going to be present, and you are most likely going to define one to sometimes three font-families that you think you need in order to create all these different fallbacks, so if someone doesn't have a certain font that falls back on another, if they don't have that, it falls back on another, and so forth, and so on.

But chances are, in today's modern web, you can work with just one or two font-families. You don't actually have to include all these different ones. And so I have seen people that do something like, okay, I need a Palatino upfront, and if they don't have that we want to go to Georgia, and if they don't have that we're going to go to Times, and if they don't have that, then we are going to go to Times New Roman, and if they don't have that, well, then we will go to just a regular old Serif font, something like that, and that's a really long set of fonts that they are working with here.

And so chances are, you can get a way with something like this, Palatino and serif. Because chances are, if they don't have Palatino they are going to have some sort of serif font-family, and chances are it is going to be one of Georgia, Times, Times New Roman, one of those. So don't necessarily have to define all of those different fallbacks, because this is just more stuff that the browser has to read, and thus it's going to increase the load time of the page. It is also going to make this appear to be very, very cluttered. So unless you are using some sort of special web font, wherein you have to go in and actually tell that I want to use something like, let's say you use Garamond Pro or something like that, and you are defining it, then you might have just a single fallback like Palatino, and then you could say Serif, but only if you are using a specialized font like that somewhere in your document would you need to define three or more.

In this case, I think as I said you could get away with just a simple Palatino, Serif declaration or maybe even like Arial, Sans Serif, Helvetica, Sans Serif, whatever it might be. So just shortening these down gives you a much more concise list of fonts to work with, it takes away some of the unnecessary properties that you are defining which makes your pages load faster and makes for an overall better experience for your end-user and also better experience for any developers that have to dive in here and take a look at your code later on as well, because nobody wants to look at a laundry list of fonts, when they are coming to clean up somebody else's code.

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