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Choosing a Futuristic font for display use

From: Choosing and Using Web Fonts

Video: Choosing a Futuristic font for display use

In 1967, inspired by the cathode ray tube and the increased use of electronic communication devices such as televisions, Wim Crouwel designed a new alphabet. He proposed a rule-based system for rendering letters based on horizontal lines instead of curves. While it was highly experimental, it was not particularly readable. Fortunately, there are futuristic fonts based on grids and geometric forms which are more readable.

Choosing a Futuristic font for display use

In 1967, inspired by the cathode ray tube and the increased use of electronic communication devices such as televisions, Wim Crouwel designed a new alphabet. He proposed a rule-based system for rendering letters based on horizontal lines instead of curves. While it was highly experimental, it was not particularly readable. Fortunately, there are futuristic fonts based on grids and geometric forms which are more readable.

Unfortunately, they lose much of the experimental quality found in Crouwel's alphabet. For this last version of the Library Used Book Sale page, we're going to be inspired by the fact that some of the books available are science fiction books. So we're looking for a font that says future and technology. Aldrich is a fine font, it's systematic and based on a grid, but it's not as futuristic as I'd like. Ethnocentric, while not grid based feels very futuristic.

The angled ends of the horizontal strokes make the letters feel slightly three dimensional. The B and P have unexpected open-counter forms which suggests speed and forward motion. I'm interested in this one. It's not available in Typekit's Trial Plan, but I Googled the font and this weight of Ethnocentric is available for free download from myfonts.com. It's also clearly approved for use as a Web font. We could download it, make it a @font-face kit at fontsquirrel.com and incorporate it using @font-face.

We'll keep this one in mind. Changeling Neo isn't bad. I like the wide letters and the grid-like structure. But this one is not available for free so I don't want to use it in this course, so we'll keep looking. Domyouji is beautiful but not what I'm looking for. I don't think Geo will have the impact I want, it's narrow and spaced out. It feels lighter than the other fonts. I'm also not crazy about the S in the word is. It feels a little complex compared to the other letters which have been simplified.

Iceland is okay. It has some of the 3D effect going on with the angled cuts on the ends of some of the strokes. At the same time the effect here makes the font look more complex, probably because this font isn't in all caps and it isn't as bold as Ethnocentric. Nova Square isn't right for this project. The angled cuts are in all the wrong places. They're top to bottom and it makes the font feel a little uneven. Orbitron is a possibility. It feels like it might be a little light to me though.

Now, Simply Mono does not feel light at all. The heaviness of this font combined with the similarity of all the letters and the really wide word spacing makes this font sort of hard to read, but not in a bad way. It reminds me a bit of the new alphabet I showed at the beginning of the lesson. It's not available on Google Web Font or via Typekit's Trial Plan, but it is available for free download via dafont.com. I've downloaded the license and it's not clear if it's approved for use with @font-face.

So I'd have to do some more research on this one before I could use it. Tachyon reminds me a little of Orbitron because it's so wide but I think it's a bit too heavy. The counter forms are getting too thin in the E and the A for my taste. It makes me feel too complex compared to the other more open and simple letter forms, so it's not quite what I'm looking for. Tenby Eight could work. It's bolder than Orbitron but lighter than Tachyon. It is definitely influenced by the grid, but it's a little softer than something completely grid-based like Simply Mono.

And I have to say I'm sort of partial to the wider letter forms, so this could be an option. Tenby Seven is another font by the same design studio out of Australia. It's not as wide so I don't think it feels quite as futuristic. And Zekton, while lovely is a bit too curvy for what I want for this project. We've looked at a lot of fonts. My favorites were Ethnocentric, which is a great cliche futuristic font with a heavy stroke, a 3D effect and a wide structure.

And Tenby Eight, which has a heavy stroke and a light structure. I'm tempted to go with this one because it's actually a little less cliche, though it feels too Humanist with all the lowercase letters. I like the uppercase structure we saw in Ethnocentric. So I tried Tenby Eight in all caps and I know this is the font I want to use. I love the word reading and how the D, N, and G are all subtle variations of each other. I also like it as a final addition to our set of display fonts.

I know people won't actually see all of these fonts in the same place probably, but I'd like them to work as a set to show a lot of variety, you know, to represent the variety of books available at the Book Sale. With Ethnocentric I think this set starts to feel a little too similar. All four fonts have heavy elements, and Ethnocentric and Limelight while completely different, have a similar black and white pattern thing going on. Again another good typographer could disagree and say they'd prefer the similarity between the fonts and that would be a fine decision.

But I'm going to go with Tenby Eight. I looked at Typekit's browser samples and it looks good. I think it's going to be a great choice.

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This video is part of

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Choosing and Using Web Fonts

89 video lessons · 6954 viewers

Laura Franz
Author

 
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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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