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Looking at how using two fonts affects the look and feel of a web page

From: Choosing and Using Web Fonts

Video: Looking at how using two fonts affects the look and feel of a web page

Using two fonts changes the overall texture of the page. Here, we have the original Arial page. It works fine all in Arial. It has a crisp, clean look. It has good hierarchy, it's readable and the letter forms and spacing are good. But when we added the modern font, Unna, to the page, the overall feeling of the page shifted. Unna gives the page a little contrast, a little elegance. We're using Unna in the heading and the quote only. That's because the thin strokes in modern letters don't hold up on screen when used for text.

Looking at how using two fonts affects the look and feel of a web page

Using two fonts changes the overall texture of the page. Here, we have the original Arial page. It works fine all in Arial. It has a crisp, clean look. It has good hierarchy, it's readable and the letter forms and spacing are good. But when we added the modern font, Unna, to the page, the overall feeling of the page shifted. Unna gives the page a little contrast, a little elegance. We're using Unna in the heading and the quote only. That's because the thin strokes in modern letters don't hold up on screen when used for text.

The hierarchy works as does the visual relationship between the vertical forms in Unna and the more vertical structure of Arial which is a Transitional Sans Serif font. But part of choosing a Web font is recognizing when not to use one. I still wouldn't use Unna for this site. I enjoy Unna. It's got well-proportioned letters, overall good spacing and it holds up cross-browser. But I still wouldn't use it for this site for two reasons. First, take a look at Around Town. It feels a little fuzzy around the edges.

Now I'm going to zoom in on it using Command++ on the Mac and we can see how it has these beautiful crisp thin lines. Unna is a modern font, has these amazingly thin lines. The think strokes are part of what makes Unna beautiful, but the strokes can't hold up at this size back at the original size on the screen. This is not a fault with the font; it's happening because I'm trying to use a font with such thin thins for a heading that's still too small to show off its best features.

This font would be more beautiful, more elegant and more graceful if it was used larger. The second reason I wouldn't use this font is because the name of the city is Springfield. Look at the main heading. See the awkward relationship between the F into the I. In order to keep the terminal on the F from slamming into the dot on the I, there's too much space between the letters. Many fonts for print fix this by creating a ligature. A ligature is a single character designed to represent two characters.

Here's an example of a ligature from Minion Pro. It looks sort of strange and seems big, but you can see down here in the word Springfield that it does look like an F and an I. Most Web Fonts don't offer ligatures. So it's important. It's especially important if you're webpage is for a city called Springfield to use a font that has a good relationship between the F and I. We can see the problem repeats itself down here in the word benefit. Now to be fair, neither of these problems make Unna a bad font.

They just make it an inappropriate font for this project. Now let's take a look at the PT Serif page we created back in the Transitional Fonts chapter. The PT Serif page is fine. We have good hierarchy, good chunking of information and the Serif font gives it a slightly more traditional feeling. But there are benefits to using two fonts. Here we have the site with PT Serif and PT Sans. The article headings set in the PT Sans Bold really pop out and that's because the strokes are more prominent and it knows the contrast between the bold Sans Serif heading and the regular Serif text.

I think this helps to emphasize the humanist voice of the articles. Meanwhile, in the right hand column, the date and time and place set in Sans Serif also emphasizes that this is a list of information. This is different from the articles. The Carnegie quote feels even more humanist and personal in the Serif Italic because it has the Sans Serif to contrast to. Using the PT Serif and PT Sans together doesn't just make the page more visually appealing, it could potentially make it slightly more usable.

The shift in font further chunks the information both in terms of creating stronger hierarchy and in terms of subtly associating different kinds of information on the page with different fonts. So in this page we used the PT Serif and PT Sans which were designed to work together, but earlier in the chapter, we looked for a font to pair with Crimson Text and it looked like Open Sans would be a good option. So I went ahead on my own, we didn't do this in the course together, and I made a page using Crimson Text and Open Sans.

I used the PT Serif and PT Sans model as my guide that is I use the same layout in terms of where to use the Serif versus the Sans Serif, where to use regular, bold and italic. So I set up this page with Crimson Text and Open Sans and the two work fine together, but I'm not sure they're a perfect pair. Now, this is a personal preference and other typographers might disagree with me completely, but I think the Open Sans gets a little too open and bubbly here compared to the darker, inkier, more traditional look of the old styled Crimson Text.

It's not a bad pair here where the headings really contrast with the text. But over here under the links, they don't feel like the best match to me. I think they're a little bit too different. If I look at this a in Departments, it's a little bit bubbly compared to the closed counter form on the Old Style a there in Popular. And it really sort of bothers me here over in the quote where the Old Style Italic is used. It feels so narrow and inky. I'm not quite sure I would pair these fonts. But again, another typographer might say, I like the contrast.

I would use these two because of the contrast. I'd like to compare this one here with the Crimson Text which, by the way, was so inky and dark, I actually had to use that sort of lighter brown color to pull it back a little. Let's compare that if you keep your eyes right there to the one in the PT Sans and Serif and there's just more continuity here. That's what I prefer. Again, somebody else might say no, I love the contrast. I think using the PT Serif and PT Sans actually doesn't have enough contrast. So at some point, as with all visual arts, typography does become a matter of taste. Either of these two would actually be a pretty good combination and I have to admit; if we look at the original page set all in Crimson, you see this looks very old-fashioned and going back to the one with the Open Sans, it definitely pulls the page into this century.

It doesn't feel quite so old and traditional. But I would point out that the Crimson Text Italic has a problem with the F-I pair as well and it doesn't have the problem appear with the main heading but down here in the italic, it's driving me a little batty. It's beginning to read benef it its people. So if I were to use the Crimson Text, I would not use italic for this quote. It would probably work fine for another quote. The final page we're going to look at was our Merriweather page. This is the original Merriweather page we made and as you'll remember, we added Ruluko in place where we might have used italics.

It doesn't make a big difference in the texture of the page, but it does give us a slight break in the texture for the quote. So there are multiple ways to mix and match fonts on the page and there are countless fonts to consider when creating a font pair. I recommend keeping an eye on the structure, weight and overall texture of the fonts you're considering. So you can pick two fonts with a good balance of similarity and contrast. I also recommend keeping your eye and how the fonts actually behave in context. Do they do the job you need them to do? Be willing to change one of the fonts if necessary.

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This video is part of

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

89 video lessons · 7251 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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