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Choosing and Using Web Fonts
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Changing styling as necessary to improve the readability of the text


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Choosing and Using Web Fonts

with Laura Franz

Video: Changing styling as necessary to improve the readability of the text

Now that our site is using Crimson Text it looks pretty good, but the text is a bit small; a bit hard to read. That's because Crimson Text has a smaller x-height than Georgia. Also, we chose a semi-italic bold to use for the sentence about Bay Road businesses remaining open, but it's still set as plain bold in the HTML. Let's change these things. Using the HTML file from the last lesson, we'll start by increasing the type size. In our CSS, let's change the universal selector to 16 pixels, and a 23 pixel line height.
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  1. 4m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      1m 52s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 47s
  2. 14m 55s
    1. Recognizing the anatomy of letters
      4m 17s
    2. Understanding font classification
      4m 38s
    3. Finding and testing web fonts
      3m 41s
    4. Identifying common problems in fonts
      2m 19s
  3. 43m 43s
    1. Understanding Venetian fonts
      4m 0s
    2. Identifying a Venetian font
      4m 46s
    3. Understanding handwritten letters
      3m 22s
    4. Choosing a Venetian font
      3m 47s
    5. Creating a Typekit account and building a kit
      3m 43s
    6. Adding a Venetian font (Calluna) to your kit
      2m 51s
    7. Applying Calluna to your web site
      5m 54s
    8. Troubleshooting Typekit fonts that don't load
      2m 2s
    9. Changing styling as necessary to improve the readability of the text
      4m 25s
    10. Working with more than four styles in Typekit
      5m 22s
    11. Looking at how using a Venetian font affects the look and feel of a web page
      3m 31s
  4. 32m 53s
    1. Identifying an Old Style font
      6m 26s
    2. Choosing an Old Style font
      4m 30s
    3. Applying Crimson Text to a web site using Google web fonts
      3m 8s
    4. Changing styling as necessary to improve the readability of the text
      9m 20s
    5. Making various weights and styles work correctly across different browsers
      5m 16s
    6. Looking at how using an Old Style font affects the look and feel of a web page
      4m 13s
  5. 21m 12s
    1. Identifying a Transitional font
      5m 10s
    2. Choosing a Transitional font
      6m 36s
    3. Applying PT Sans to a site via Typekit
      2m 57s
    4. Changing styling as necessary to improve the readability of the text
      2m 59s
    5. Looking at how using a Transitional font affects the look and feel of a web page
      3m 30s
  6. 16m 58s
    1. Identifying a Modern font
      7m 50s
    2. Choosing a Modern font
      4m 0s
    3. Using Typekit to find and test web fonts
      5m 8s
  7. 26m 52s
    1. Identifying a Slab Serif font
      4m 30s
    2. Choosing a Slab Serif font
      3m 58s
    3. Deleting a font from your Typekit
      3m 1s
    4. Exploring a font with multiple weights and styles
      9m 41s
    5. Looking at how using a Slab Serif font affects the look and feel of a web page
      5m 42s
  8. 26m 52s
    1. Identifying "Other" Serif fonts
      5m 28s
    2. Choosing "Other" Serif fonts
      10m 12s
    3. Using a font without an italic
      7m 6s
    4. Looking at how using an "Other" Serif font affects the look and feel of a web page
      4m 6s
  9. 20m 34s
    1. Identifying a Transitional Sans Serif font
      4m 29s
    2. Choosing a Transitional Sans Serif font
      5m 14s
    3. Changing styling to improve the readability of text
      6m 31s
    4. Looking at how using a Transitional Sans Serif font affects the look and feel of a web page
      4m 20s
  10. 31m 23s
    1. Identifying a Geometric Sans Serif font
      2m 51s
    2. Choosing a Geometric Sans Serif font
      4m 33s
    3. Downloading a free font licensed for use on the web
      3m 53s
    4. Using Font Squirrel to create an @font-face kit
      5m 12s
    5. Adding the @font-face syntax to the CSS
      2m 57s
    6. Implementing the font family in the CSS
      5m 29s
    7. Changing styling as necessary to improve the readability of the text
      3m 56s
    8. Looking at how using a Geometric Sans Serif font affects the look and feel of a web page
      2m 32s
  11. 21m 3s
    1. Identifying a Humanist Sans Serif font
      4m 18s
    2. Choosing a Humanist Sans Serif font
      7m 23s
    3. Changing styling as necessary to improve the readability of the text
      5m 32s
    4. Looking at how using a Humanist Sans Serif font affects the look and feel of a web page
      3m 50s
  12. 18m 28s
    1. Understanding handwritten fonts
      3m 4s
    2. Choosing a handwritten font
      8m 17s
    3. Looking at how using a handwritten font affects the look and feel of a web page
      7m 7s
  13. 33m 2s
    1. Understanding what to look for when pairing fonts
      6m 58s
    2. Using one font for headings and another for text
      6m 6s
    3. Using different fonts for different kinds of information on the page
      8m 38s
    4. Mixing and matching fonts within text
      3m 48s
    5. Looking at how using two fonts affects the look and feel of a web page
      7m 32s
  14. 23m 34s
    1. Understanding Script fonts
      2m 19s
    2. Choosing a Script font for display use
      8m 12s
    3. Changing styling as necessary to improve the form and placement of letters on the page
      3m 33s
    4. Choosing a second font to pair with the Script Display font
      3m 42s
    5. Incorporating a second font with the Script Display font
      2m 53s
    6. Setting fallback fonts
      2m 55s
  15. 26m 38s
    1. Understanding Wood Type fonts
      3m 25s
    2. Choosing a Wood Type font for display use
      8m 35s
    3. Changing styling as necessary to improve the form and placement of letters on the page
      4m 57s
    4. Choosing a second font to pair with the Wood Type font
      2m 28s
    5. Incorporating a second font with the Wood Type display font
      4m 42s
    6. Setting fallback fonts
      2m 31s
  16. 14m 58s
    1. Choosing an Art Deco font for display use
      2m 45s
    2. Changing styling as necessary to improve the form and placement of letters on the page
      3m 51s
    3. Choosing a second font to pair with the Art Deco font
      2m 37s
    4. Incorporating a second font with the Art Deco display font
      2m 57s
    5. Setting fallback fonts
      2m 48s
  17. 27m 38s
    1. Choosing a Futuristic font for display use
      5m 33s
    2. Applying the Futuristic font and changing the styling as necessary to improve the form and placement of letters on the page
      6m 40s
    3. Choosing a second font to pair with the Futuristic font
      2m 48s
    4. Incorporating a second font with the Futuristic display font
      4m 21s
    5. Setting fallback fonts
      2m 22s
    6. Looking at the set of four ads
      5m 54s
  18. 7m 29s
    1. Exploring resources and goodbye
      7m 29s

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Choosing and Using Web Fonts
6h 52m Appropriate for all Jun 27, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course focuses on the theories behind web fonts: what makes a good font, why different fonts look the way they do, and how fonts affect the look of a web page. Author Laura Franz covers common tasks, including downloading a font from an online source such as Typekit or Font Squirrel, implementing the font in HTML and CSS, and changing the size and line-height to improve the readability of text. The course also covers different periods of type design and explores the history behind handwritten fonts, text fonts (used for large amounts of text), and display fonts (used for headlines).

Topics include:
  • Explaining the history of text fonts, from Old Style, Transitional, and Modern to Slab Serif and Sans Serif
  • Understanding font classifications
  • Setting up a Typekit account
  • Choosing a quality font based on forms, spacing, and weights and styles
  • Accessing fonts from various sources
  • Implementing fonts with the @font-face syntax
  • Looking at how fonts affect the look and feel of a web page
  • Changing font styling to improve readability
  • Making various font weights and styles work correctly across multiple browsers
  • Pairing fonts (headline and text, two fonts in text, and so on)
  • Setting fallback fonts
Subjects:
Design Typography Web Web Design Web Fonts
Author:
Laura Franz

Changing styling as necessary to improve the readability of the text

Now that our site is using Crimson Text it looks pretty good, but the text is a bit small; a bit hard to read. That's because Crimson Text has a smaller x-height than Georgia. Also, we chose a semi-italic bold to use for the sentence about Bay Road businesses remaining open, but it's still set as plain bold in the HTML. Let's change these things. Using the HTML file from the last lesson, we'll start by increasing the type size. In our CSS, let's change the universal selector to 16 pixels, and a 23 pixel line height.

Save this, and reload it in the browser. That looks pretty good, but it's still too small, and the lines of text feel a little bit too far apart. So back in the CSS, let's change our font size to 17 pixels, and keep the line height at 23. We'll save this, and refresh in the browser. I'm using Command+R to refresh. That looks better. Now, you may have noticed in an earlier video when we were choosing an old style font that Crimson was at 19 pixels, and it was a comfortable reading size.

Here we're using it at 17 pixels, and it's also a comfortable reading size. So how can the same font feel right at two different sizes? Well short, easy to read blurbs of texts with shorter line links, like the text on this site, can be set a little smaller and still be easy to read. You'll find that more theoretical or instructional text with a longer line length needs to be set a little bit larger. So we've got our text type size set, but now everything else looks a little bit weak. The article and event headings are a little too small, and so is the quote in the right-hand column.

Let's go in and bump everything up by two pixels and see what happens. So back in our editor, we'll make our h1 32 and 34. We'll make our welcome to 16. The h2, we'll change to 19 and 19. The h3, we'll change to 26 and 26. The h4, we'll change to 18 and 18. The quote, we'll change to 17 and 24.

And the acronym -- that's the AMs and PM's within the text -- we will change to 15. Go ahead and save this, and refresh it in the browser, and that looks a lot better. I'm still not crazy about the article and event headings, though. They're a little too far from the text that they belong to. You can see the space there, and then there. And in fact, the heading Library Used Book Sale looks like it belongs more with Save the Date than it does with the date and time information underneath it. So in the CSS, let's find our h4, and change that margin to 2 pixels.

I think we're also going to change it to a 19 and 19 size and line height, so it can be a little bit bigger, and then try refreshing it. Well, the headings definitely feel more like headings, but I think they're still a little bit too far away from their texts. So let's go back into the CSS, and let's change that margin even smaller, bottom margin to 1 pixel, I'll save this, and refresh it, and that's looking better, but I wish that the Library Used Book Sale was a little bit further from Save the Date.

So let's go and change that. The h3, right now it's got an 8 pixel margin bottom, and we're going to change that to 12 pixels. I saved, and now refreshing it, and that looks better. The Library Used Book Sale now looks like it belongs a little bit more with the date and time information after it instead of with the heading above it. I'm still not crazy about the h4, but let's move on to some other areas of the page, and as I fix other things, we might be able to figure out how to fix the article and event titles.

So first of all, let's try getting rid of the bold for the sentence about the Bay Road businesses. I'm using the strong to set that sentence, and right now it's using just bold, and I want to use a semi-bold italic here. I think we would use a font weight of 600, and a font style of italic, but I do want to go back into Google Web Fonts and make sure that that is how they set it. Yes, semi-bold italic is 600. Excellent.

I can see here, we've done it a 600 italic, save this, and let's refresh that in our browser. Excellent; it worked. There we go. Bay Road businesses are open during construction. Now, one other thing I'm starting to notice about Crimson Text is how narrow its italics are. The italics feel a little smaller than the Roman text, and they're also a little harder to read. It might not be a problem for this single sentence here about the Bay Road businesses, since most people only need to read the first four words anyway, but over here, the quote feels quite small, and it's tight, and I usually like to think of quotes as being meaningful and inspirational, so I'd like it to be a bit bigger and to have more presence.

So let's go in and bump that up a bit. Let's change this so it's on 18 pixels, and we will keep the line height; that should work. Saved it. Okay, that's a little bit better. I'd still like to do something about those articles and event headings though. The bold just feels too heavy for my taste. It occurs to me that the old style fonts didn't have bold weights, and I'm looking at this old, elegant font, and I'm wondering if maybe I should create a heading more in line with how headings would have used to have looked back when old style fonts were originally used.

So an old style font would often have been set in all caps with a little extra letter spacing, and that would help them look refined and elegant. So let's try that. So with the h4, let's get rid of the bold, and do a text transform to uppercase, and add some letter spacing. Just one pixel, save that, and let's see how it looks. Well, it definitely feels more elegant, but there are some problems doing it this way.

For instance, over here with the Library Used Book Sale, it's now on two lines, as is the Raynor Pond Clean Up. So this isn't going to work for us. One thing we could try is maybe getting rid of the letter spacing and see if that works. Let's go back into the editor and refresh, and that didn't really help. It looks a little bit darker, which would be good, but it didn't solve the problem with the Library Used Book Sale, or with the Raynor Pond Clean Up, so I don't think using all caps is going to work for us.

So the next thing I'm wondering is maybe instead of using all caps, we can go back, choose regular case, but try using the semi-bold instead of the bold, and that might be more in line with the sort of old style, traditional, elegant look. So back in the text editor, I'm going to go ahead and get rid of the uppercase, and I want to use a font weight 600, so that will be the semi-bold, but then, I also need to go back into my browser to Google Web Fonts, because we didn't choose semi-bold to begin with.

So let's select semi-bold, and turn off the bold, because this is such a memory intensive font, and really for any Web fonts, only choose the weights and styles you know you're going to use. Then we will have to go down and reselect, and recopy this code, because it will have changed since we've changed what weights and styles we're going to use. Back in the text editor up at the top let's replace that code, and save it, and refresh, and that's working better.

It's not quite as heavy using the semi-bold instead of the bold for the event and article headings, but now I'm no longer thrilled about the amount of space underneath the headings. When we used the bold that, they felt too far away from the text, and using the semi-bold, they look a little too close to the text. There must be a built-in vertical spacing that's a little bit different from one weight to the other. So we're going to have to go back in and fix that. Down in the h4, let's set our margin bottom back to 2 pixels, and let's save this, and refresh it, and that's better.

There's a little bit more space there. I think that we've got it. Well actually, no. I'm also noticing now that there's that extra space after Save the Date, which I had also added when we were using the bold. We should take some of that out. It was at 12 pixels; we changed that to 12 pixels. Let's bring that back down to, say, 10, or even 9 pixels. There we go. That's better. Now it's not quite so far away. I do think we've got it. It looks pretty good. So make sure you keep this file for the next lesson.

We had to do a lot more noodling with the Crimson Text version of this page. Every font is different, not just in terms of how the letters look, but also in terms of how heavy their bold weight is, how narrow their italic, and even how spacious the font feels, both horizontally and vertically.

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