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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're going to use Merriweather for our site. It's available from Google Web Fonts. I'm not going to go into the details of how to get the Google Web Fonts syntax into your document. We covered that in the old style chapter. But you can open the exercise file I've created called merriweather_site.html in our text editor. You can see I've added the Google syntax, I've added Merriweather as our font family, and I've changed all the font weights appropriately.
Now let's take a look at it in our browser. The size looks pretty good, and that's because I already made everything a little bit smaller. Merriweather has a bigger x-height than Georgia, so it looked quite big on the page. So the page looks pretty good now, but the italics are fake. You can see that here in the quote, and then also up here in Union. And that's because Merriweather doesn't have an italic, so we need to go in and get rid of the italics. We'll toggle over to our text editor, and we'll turn the em to font-style normal.
And on the quote, we'll just get rid of the font-style:italic altogether. Let's save that, and toggle back, and refresh, and we can see that the italics are gone. Now what we need to do, though, is re-style those words and that text, so that it has the same sort of subtle emphasis that it used to have, and I'd like to start with the quote. I want the quote to feel different. A bold would be too strong, but one of the tricks I often use is to make a type bigger, but in a lighter a color.
Then the extra size will draw the attention to the text, but then setting it in a lighter color will pull it back a little, so it doesn't stand out too much. And when you think about it, that sort of what italics do. So I think what I want to do is use a brown color. I'm interested in this brown color here in the background. I want to pick a color that works with the palette, and I think if I work with blue, it'll look too much like a link. And if I use any of the bright colors up here, like the orange, the red, or the yellow, it'll stand out too much.
So I'm going to go with the brown. So what we're we going to do is toggle over to our text editor, and then what I'd to do is open up our springfield.css file, which we haven't really looked at yet. What I'd like you to is scroll down and find the main_content_container, and here we can see that the background color is D1CAC7. We can copy that, and go back into our Merriweather site, and let's add that as our color to our quote.
We'll save this, and view it in the browser, and that looks very light. This will happen sometimes. A color that looks darker when it's a flat space can look a lot lighter when it set in text. That's because the text has a lot of whitespace in it. You can almost imagine that we've taken some white paint, and mixed it in with that color, and it's gotten even lighter. So now we need to find a darker color to use. So we're going to go to one of my favorite sites.
It's called Hues Hub, and it's part of December.com. We're going to find that color, and then pick a darker one. Now, the brown feels to me most like these sort of orangey colors, so we're going to go into that page, and then we're going to open up our find field -- on the Mac it's Command+F -- and I can paste that color right in, and it will find it for me. There's the color we've been using. Now, we need a darker color for the text. So I'm going to recommend we go as many as four steps down, and grab this color here instead: 70625C.
Let's copy that, and go back over into our text editor, and put in the new color. Let's go ahead and save that. Back over to the browser, and refresh it, and that's much better. It actually looks only a little bit darker than our background color, and it's within the same range of colors, so the palette works really well together. Now, there's one other work that I wanted to change, and that's Union. This was italic.
And it does necessarily have to be italicized or treated differently. It's not the title of a movie or a book, but I'd like to do something else with it. Another way to bring a little bit of attention to a word would be to capitalize it, which helps make it stand out, and then make it a little bit smaller, and add some letter spacing, which then pulls back some of the emphasis. So again, it has sort of a middle emphasis. So let's go back into our text editor, and on our em, let's do a text-transform to uppercase, and let's add some letter-spacing, 1 pixel.
Let's also change the font size to 13 pixels, so it's a little bit smaller than the text. Save that, back in the browser, and refresh, and that looks good. It stands out a little bit, but not too much. So it sort of has the same relationship to the text that the italic would have, and that's great. Now I do have to tell you one thing here; there are a lot of Web designers who would say you should never make the uppercase letters just a little bit smaller using the font size.
They would say that you should always use the syntax font-variant small-caps to set your small caps in Web text. I don't do this; I disagree with it. I find that using a font variant small caps does not mean you're actually using properly designed small caps. It just means that the browser is rendering the font smaller, and I personally think that those small caps are too small. Also, you should know that there are a lot of traditional typographers who would say you should never make caps just a little bit smaller; that cap should always be use to full size unless the font comes with a properly designed small caps version.
But I still do it, and here's why: I find that official, properly designed small caps are usually too small for comfortable reading on the screen. The counter forms get small. The letters lose legibility. I usually want my smaller caps to be a bit bigger than the traditional properly designed small caps. So as a Web typographer, I always look at what I'm doing, and the font I'm using, and the effect I'm trying to achieve, and then I modify the rules as needed. But everything here looks good.
Now, of course, we should always pick a font that always has the styles and weights we need, but this was a simple page, and we didn't really need the italic. It's just a nice easy way to create subtle emphasis. But using the bigger, lighter text, or smaller spaced out caps, we were also able to create subtle emphasis when needed.
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