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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).
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.
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