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Choosing "Other" Serif fonts

From: Choosing and Using Web Fonts

Video: Choosing "Other" Serif fonts

So now that we know what an other serif font looks like, we need to pick one to use. First, we'll look at Tisa Web Pro. When we compare it to Georgia, Tisa is more monoline, although the structure is similar to Georgia. We can look at the a and the e and see that they have similar shapes, though Tisa has a slightly wider aperture. We can also see that the b has a similar shape to Georgia's. So when we see Tisa in text, we'll expect it to hold up about the same as Georgia does, even at smaller sizes, and even though Tisa has a sort of slab serif. Tisa has a great bold, it's not too strong, and it also has -- if we scroll down here -- a nice italic.

Choosing "Other" Serif fonts

So now that we know what an other serif font looks like, we need to pick one to use. First, we'll look at Tisa Web Pro. When we compare it to Georgia, Tisa is more monoline, although the structure is similar to Georgia. We can look at the a and the e and see that they have similar shapes, though Tisa has a slightly wider aperture. We can also see that the b has a similar shape to Georgia's. So when we see Tisa in text, we'll expect it to hold up about the same as Georgia does, even at smaller sizes, and even though Tisa has a sort of slab serif. Tisa has a great bold, it's not too strong, and it also has -- if we scroll down here -- a nice italic.

It stays open, and it's not too narrow. I've looked the Typekit, and Tisa works very well cross-browser. This would be a great font to use. Unfortunately, Tisa is in the Typekit's Personal plan or higher, so it's not available unless you purchase a plan. So let's keep looking. Next, we'll look at Le Monde Courrier in text. Notice the curved, almost italic e. The rest of the font is more structured, but the e doesn't pop out, and it doesn't feel like it's out of place in the system.

One of the reasons why the e continues to work in the system is because that it remains monoline. You'll also see that humanist forms have been incorporated in other letters. For instance, there's a nice curve on the bottom of the i. If you look in the text, you'll see that that curve is also in the lower case l. The letter spacing is a little too tight for my personal preference, but not so tight that we'd lose legibility. Overall, it's a really good font. I used Typekit to look at how it holds up cross-browser, and there are more inconsistencies than in some of the other fonts I've recommended, but they're within range, and let me show you that.

So here we're looking at Internet Explorer 8 on Windows XP, and you can see that we're losing a little bit of the e in the 16 and 14 pixel size. But we're keeping most of the bold, and most of the crossbar, so those forms stay recognizable as an e, so that's within range. Here's an example of a screenshot from my system. I'm working on Mac in Firefox, and you can see how that e looks when I see it on my system.

Then here on XP, the letterforms do get lighter, as usual; we'd expect to see this. Yet we don't lose any of the e in 16 or higher. It starts to almost disappear in the 14, but it's still there, it's still legible, it's still readable as an e. Then if we look at Safari on Vista, we see that the letters actually get heavier, but they're still legible. They're not a full bold. Now, there are only a handful of fonts that don't have at least some inconsistency across browser.

Le Monde Courrier's shifts in weight are all within an acceptable range. So again, even though there are these inconsistencies, I would recommend using this font. It holds up fairly well cross-browser. Unfortunately, it's in the Personal or higher plan on Typekit, so we're not going to use it for this course, so we'll keep looking. Next we have Merriweather, which is available via Google Web Fonts, so it's a font I know everyone can use. I've tested it cross-browser, and it holds up beautifully. It's a great font.

I enjoy Merriweather's serifs. Notice that the head serif on the h is wedge shaped, yet the foot serifs, while they have a slight angle, are almost flat. They almost look like thin slab serifs. At the same time, the wedges do not get too big in overpowering in the text, and the lighter foot serifs don't get lost. The font designer, Eben Sorkin, found a good balance here. One of the things I love about Merriweather is how we see two approaches to type in a single letter: the older wedge shaped serif at the top, and the almost slab serif at the bottom. Where in Le Monde Courrier, we saw different approaches between letters -- something more humanist, versus something more monoline -- in Merriweather, we see it within the same letters.

I also enjoy Merriweather's lower case a. It has a very generous closed counter, and a very generous aperture. If we read the first two words in the text, For decades, we can really see how that a holds up in the text. It just remains open and lovely. Merriweather also has a good bold. It doesn't get too heavy; I'm always looking in that. But the only problem with this font is it does not have an italic. Our site uses italic to create some mid-level of emphasis, especially on the quote about the library.

Now, we don't use a lot of italic in our page, so we might be able to get away with not using one. I'd have to try it before I knew for sure. Either way, I still wish this font had an italic. It's a lovely font, and I would definitely use it more if it had a couple more styles. Next, let's look at Meta Serif Web Pro. Again, it has an old style pen-formed serif. Looking at the lower case b in the title here with the Web Pro, we can see the head serif is angled at the top, and not flat.

But at the same time, when we look at the bowl of the b, we can see that the stress is up and down, while the heaviest part of the stroke is to the outside of the bowl. So it has a more transitional approach to the bowl, and more old style approach to the head serif. And you can really see that if you take a look at the b side by side with Georgia's here, because Georgia is a transitional font. Meta Serif Web Pro has these funky almost chiseled square terminals. You can see it here in the f. This is hard to pull off.

It stays really unique looking at large sizes -- we can see one here at the a as well -- but then when we look at the text, they don't jump out at us. They don't take over in the text. It has a good bold; not too heavy, and if we scroll down, we can see that it also has a nice italic. It might be a little bit narrower than I would usually personally prefer, but that's a personal preference. It's not a bad italic. And I've tested the font cross-browser, and it holds up beautifully. Now, Meta Serif is a font that was designed for print, so I've been familiar with it since the 1990s, but what we're looking at here is not just Meta Serif saved for the Web.

The designers and their team went in, and they re-hinted everything, so it holds up better onscreen and cross-browser. You'll notice they even changed the name by adding the word Web to this version of the font. Please do not assume that just because a font works well in print, or on your own system, it will hold up cross-browser. I know I sound like a broken record, but take the time to test new fonts. Some fonts, even absolutely beautiful ones, if they're poorly hinted, they turn into barely legible black and white patterns on some of the browsers.

But this one, FF Meta Serif Web Pro works, and I would definitely recommend it. And of course, it's only available in the Portfolio plan and higher on Typekit, so not everyone has access to it, so we won't use it for this course, but I wanted you to know about it. I'd also like to show you a couple of things to avoid when choosing in other serif font for text. I've been talking about merging different approaches to font design. In this one, the letters are almost sliced and diced, rather than showing a gentle combination of characteristics.

Now, this does result in a unique font that might be just for what you're looking for for the headline, but you do not want to use this font in text. The letters are just too different from each other. We can't help but notice that angular foot serif on the t. You see it here in the heading, and then it also will jump out at us in the text, and the f also jumps out. It looks like a crook. So when elements of the letters get this varied, and they call out to the reader, and draw attention away from the text, it just slows the reader down.

They could stop reading, and they might leave the page, so it's better to choose a text font that has a little bit more flow, and doesn't have quite so many unique letters in it. Now, on the subtler note, I also wanted to point out this font. This font also seems to be sliced and diced. The overall structure of the letters feel transitional, and the thick and thins have quite a bit of contrast, and the head serifs are thinner and flatter than what we would see in an old style font, but they've incorporated wedge-shaped serifs on the bottom.

So those feel a little bit bottom heavy when we see this font is a heading. In addition, in order to make this font feel a little bit older, the designer went in and added terminals where we don't usually see them. For example, here at the bottom of the e, and then also here on the c. You can the difference between this font and Georgia. So those extra terminals do start to pop out it does a little bit if we look at the word here, the, we can see that e coming out.

Then, in addition, they added a similar terminal on the f, but needed to lighten it up and reduce the weight of the stroke there on the f. So the f starts to feel a little wimpy in text. You can see it here with the word fabric. So after looking at all of these other serif fonts, we are going to use Merriweather in our site. It is a lovely font, and it is one of my favorites. I was excited to see it's available on Google, and was even more excited to see it holds up cross-browser.

So I can use it with confidence. It doesn't have an italic, but we'll just consider that a challenge. I know we can make it work.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Choosing and Using Web Fonts
Choosing and Using Web Fonts

89 video lessons · 7243 viewers

Laura Franz
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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