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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 more about Handwritten fonts, we need to choose one to use. If you look at Myndraine online, you'll see it called an abstract font and a Sans Serif font. I classify it as a Handwriting font that's because of the strokes within the letters. They aren't inky or curved, and more because of the energy and forms of the letters themselves. The letters have a quirky form, when used in text they have handwritten energy and texture. We can see up close some of the characteristics that help make it feel handwritten.
For instance, the way the shoulder comes up out of the stem on the n, and the b, and the g and the p. But even though there are these exaggerated shapes within the letters, they work together in a system because the letters still follow a structured pattern. No letter goes beyond our expectations of what a letter form should look like in this system. Myndraine has large x-height compared to Georgia, so we're able to set it at 14 pixels and it's quite legible and readable.
Myndraine Regular is available on Google Web Fonts. It does not have an italic or a bold version at this time and it holds up fairly well cross-browser. There are some minor letter spacing problems on Windows XP and the tops of the letters get chopped off when set at 11 pixel and 16 pixel. This happens cross-browser. But as long as you don't use it at 11 pixels or 16 pixels it's a good font. So now let's look Ruluko. It almost feels like an italic font, in fact, Ruluko's f has that extended stroke we've been seeing on italics.
The e is italic and curved and the n has a lovely detail at the end here, almost like a pen swooshed down and then picked off the paper. It's a nice detail. Looking up at the headline, we can see also that there's a very slight curve on the left stroke of the u and the k has a loop. But even with all of these italic characteristics, Ruluko remains vertical and structured. Similarly the Myndraine, the letters feel crisp, they're not inky. So we have the form of the handwriting but not the inkiness of the handwriting.
And Ruluko holds up fairly well cross-browser. It does have a slight problem on Opera 10 and Windows XP. We get a few bits of darkness in some of the letters but it's still readable so this is a minimal problem. It works fine on all other browsers tested. Moving even further toward a Handwritten Font is Sanvito Pro. Now, this is different from any of the other fonts we've looked at. In fact, it reminds me of the Venetian letter forms we looked at earlier in the course. Now Sanvito Pro has a tiny x-height so we had to set it at 20 pixels for it to be easily readable, and compared to Georgia, we can see how tiny that x-height is.
And we can also see the delightful details of handwritten letters; we can see the ribboning of the thick to thin on the b, we can see the rising crossbar on the e which we haven't seen since the beginning of the course. The font obviously feels very much like handwriting, yet there's a system behind this font. The letter forms have a consistent structure, none of the letters feels out of place or unexpected in the system. So where the text is very textural and dark and a little hard to read with the very tiny little closed counter forms on the lowercase a and e, it is readable.
I don't know if I'd use it for extended amounts of text but it would be great for a paragraph or two and also for headings. Sanvito Pro is available in the Personal Plan or higher from Typekit. It comes in four weights; Light, Regular, Semi-bold and Bold. This font specimen sheet uses the Regular and the Semi-bold. In contrast to Sanvito Pro is another calligraphic Handwritten Font. I've repeatedly mentioned the importance of letters working in a system. In this font, the letters do not work in a system and that causes some problems when used for text.
Let's start by reading the text at the very top here, For decades, we'll zoom in and we can see that the d looks like a slightly wider letter and the e is narrow and the c is wider and the a is narrow and the d is wider. And the rhythm of the letters is, it's not systematic and it sort of breaks up the rhythm in the flow of the text and that makes it a little bit harder to read. In addition, the stress on the o is too angled and it just feels like it's sort of tipping over and that's even more noticeable when we look back at regular size.
And finally, there's an optical illusion happening in this font. We can again, see in the heading, the way that the foot Serifs are on the H and the F, it's almost like the black strokes are starting to become a shadow for some invisible white letter that's there. And this optical illusion is sort of fun and unique in the heading but it causes problems in the text. The Serifs just don't feel natural at small sizes. In addition, once I see that invisible white letter there I start even seeing it in the n, in the I and that 3D feeling becomes more important than the words themselves.
Another problem that we'll often have when working with or looking for a Handwriting Font is that most of them have been designed for display use, they've been designed to be used in Headings, and so they may have very narrow bowls like this one and they'll definitely have the tighter letter spacing. So whereas this heading it feels pretty narrow and tight, but at least it's readable. Once we get into the text, the words just become like these little gray splotches on the page. And this is made even worse by the huge word spacing.
If you look closely at this line here, gravestones, from T-shirts to text messaging, the word to is actually narrower than the space on either side of it. This makes it even harder to read. And then finally, I wanted to show you one last Handwriting Font where some of the letters are just too unique. So unique, personal handwritten forms are the Catch 22 of handwriting fonts. On one hand, you'd think that personal forms would help make the font feel more handwritten. For instance, here we have this big, large loop on the f and we have this curve on the t, but what actually happens is that those unique fonts, they catch our eye and we notice them again and again in the text.
For instance, if we look at the first line of text here, that t gets used one, two, three, four times in the first line and then we see it repeated here twice, side by side in the word written, and what was looking unique and personal now pops out at us and says, Hello, I'm the digital font. This font has other problems too, like the letter case e that unfortunately looks like a c because the closed counter form has closed up. And it also has a complex texture that makes the text harder to read.
But mostly, I wanted to point out the more personal, the letter forms look, the more they standout in the text and call attention to the fact that they're digital. When we pick a handwriting font, we need to find one that has a good balance balance between personal and digital. So after looking at all of these Handwriting Fonts, even though some of them are beautiful and lovely, I don't think any of them feel appropriate for our site. Even my personal favorites like Sanvito Pro, Ruluko and Myndraine, none of them feel right for an official site for a city.
We need a font that's just a bit more structured, a bit more official and trustworthy because a city is not just about community, it intersects with business and government. Overall, the Handwriting Fonts we looked at are too old and traditional, tootextural for reading on the page or too casual. So we aren't going to go through the steps to use them in our city site. In the next lesson, I will show you a couple of examples of the fonts actually in use so you can see for yourself how they affect the look of the page, and why none of them are appropriate.
In the meantime, if you want to use one of these fonts for a different site, you can access them from Google Web Fonts, Font Squirrel or Typekit, the same way we've been accessing all the other fonts in this course.
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