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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).
We didn't choose a Handwritten Font to work with because none of them are appropriate for our site. They are too casual, too personal or too old and traditional-looking. But I went ahead and made pages on my own using the three different handwritten fonts, so you can see how they affect the look and feel of our Web page. Let's start with Myndraine. It's the most systematic of the fonts; it's the least like handwriting even though there is a casual personal feeling to the text. To emphasize how casual Myndraine feels, let's compare it three other Humanist fonts we've used thus far in the course.
This is Merriweather which has a Humanist structure but the Slab Serifs keep it grounded and make it feel more systematic than Myndraine. This is Open Sans, which doesn't have the extreme shoulders that Myndraine does, so it feels more even on the page. And this is Crimson Text, it has the pen-formed terminals and Serifs so while it might feel handwritten, it's certainly doesn't feel casual. Myndraine looks like someone with really good handwriting could have printed it by hand.
Now it doesn't have a bold or italic so I want to show you how I managed to get around that. I haven't talked a lot about creating hierarchy in this course. I talk much more about it and go over it in detail in my other course, Typography for Web Designers. But here, without a bold or italic, I needed to figure out how to create hierarchy between the h2, h3, h4, the sentence about the Bay Road businesses, the quote and the text. So I used a couple of tricks I've been using all along. I primarily used size to create hierarchy in the headings, but size wasn't enough to make the article heading standout, especially for the Events, people tend to scan down the page looking for the next event.
So what I did is I set all the text and the h3s to a very dark gray. They are set at 333 instead of 000 and then the h4s are set to black. This helps them feel slightly stronger, slightly bolder than they are. I also took a tip from an earlier page, our Merriweather page, and I set the quote in that nice dark brown, so it pops out as a different voice but it does so in a light way, not a strong way and it doesn't compete with the headings. I also added a red to the Bay Road businesses.
I was more concerned about this sentence because it's important for the businesses that people know that they're still open. So I wanted to set this as a different color. I avoided blue because I didn't want it to look like a link, and I also avoided using really bright red. Instead what I did was I try to draw from a color already in our palette, that it feels like it still belongs with the page. The last place we had had some emphasis was in the word Union here, the name, it had been italicized. I decided to let that go, because, well it's not a book title or a movie title so it didn't have to be italicized.
And when I tried to set it a little differently, there were just so many things going on, on the page, it was just becoming a little bit busy. So looking at the overall texture of the page in the finished hierarchy, it's a casual personal feeling font that can do its job even without a bold or an italic. Again, I don't think it's appropriate for this site but I'd recommend it for the right content, a reminder that the tops of the letters do get cut off if you set Myndraine at 16 pixels or 11 pixels so you need to plan accordingly and avoid those sizes. I have provided the final files in the Exercise Files if you want to see how I set the text.
A warning though, Myndraine does use @font-face and the fonts were downloaded from Font Squirrel. So due to licensing issues, I haven't provided the fonts, you'd need to go get them from Font Squirrel yourself to make the page work on your system. So now let's take a look at the page set in Ruluko. We can see immediately that it's softer and it feels more handwritten. Again, Ruluko doesn't have an italic or a bold so I had to work a little bit harder to create the hierarchy. Ruluko is a lighter weight font, so even with the black article headings and the dark gray text, it wasn't enough to create the hierarchy that I wanted, and I really wanted people to be able to scan down and find an event.
So I ended up using all caps for the h4s. Now usually I add a pixel of space when I use all caps, because an all caps setting tends to feel a little squished, but I didn't have to do that here because Ruluko's letter spacing is very generous. And again, you can see I used similar approaches to creating hierarchy, we have that brick red Bay Road businesses sentence and the gray brown quote. I love this font and recommend it. I do have to point out one small problem which could be a make or break problem for other people but it's not for me, and that's the apostrophes.
They look like they're straight. Let me zoom in here using a Command++ on the Mac and you can see that they're not curly. I'm going to keep zooming in as far as I can because the apostrophe is very small and you can see that it's not a very curly apostrophe. And if I come back to Myndraine, again, I'm going to zoom in as far as I can. You can see that the apostrophe in Myndraine has a bit more curve to it. Ruluko's apostrophe looks more like what we would call a dumb quote, it's a prime symbol that's used to represent foot.
But, if you look very closely, you can see that it actually has been designed by the designer. It has a very slight curve to it and it relates to the comma in the text so it's just that this designer has chosen to create a straighter apostrophe. Let's go back out and so you can see, it's just sort of loses some of the curve that we maybe like to see with a font that has so many delicate curves in it. So again, some people might chose not to use this font because of the apostrophe but I would still use it. If I had a site where I had a lot of quotation marks then maybe I wouldn't but it's perfect for this site in terms of the number of apostrophes that are being used.
There's only a few of them so it would be okay. Now let's see, I also wanted to show you Sanvito. Sanvito looks like it would be appropriate if the town were a very old town somewhere near Venice. Sanvito has four weights; I used the Light, the Regular and the Semi-bold. I found the bold was way too heavy and dark for the article headings, it started to fill in. So that's the semi-bold we're looking at. And I usually use the light weight for both the h1 and h3 headings. But I found that the light didn't quite work for the h3 headings, it was starting to lose the sort of inky feeling of the font.
They were getting a little bit too thin. So instead, I kept them at the regular weight and I also made them dark gray similar to the text so they didn't become too overpowering. I feel a bit like a broken record but I want to be clear that I think that all three of these fonts are lovely and they hold up cross-browser and I would use them elsewhere. They're just aren't appropriate for an official government site, even one that seems to focus on community. In the next lesson, we're going to look at how to pair fonts. I can't promise but we might find a way to include one of these fonts if we can pair them with a font that is more appropriate for the content.
I'll keep an eye on that option as we move forward.
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