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Learn how to choose fonts for a web site and create beautiful, legible type. Author Laura Franz shares how to create designs that maximize readability (and keep visitors on the page) by paying attention to details in size, line-height, line length, alignment, color, vertical space, and more. Laura also demonstrates how to incorporate web fonts, style type with CSS, and pick fonts that work well together.
In this chapter we've learned a lot about shaping the typographic page. We've try to create more architectural space, added a meaningful background image, and thoughtfully set our links within the structure of a modernist inspired page. Now it's a good time to ask, how do professional designers use modernist elements on their sites? Are any of the pages only modernist or do the site tend to mix and match traditional and modernist elements? subtraction.com is a modernist site.
In addition to using a sans serif font it creates architectural space. Space is as important as content. It breaks into the content area, helping to create hierarchy. subtraction.com also uses a very controlled eight column grid. Let me show you. Notice how the name of the site lines up with the word Home and lines up with the date. Notice how categories lines up with the title down here. Notice how the black square lines up with archives. If we scroll down, that lines up with the text down along this area.
You can also come across here and notice how the search box lines up with the text down here and the invisible line between the two runs right through this very distinct edge on this X in the photo. Even the photo is been placed on the grid. The way that the photo was cropped and placed it's very controlled, it's lovely. You can also look and see here this last line in the navigation, if I were to scroll down right on that invisible line and keep going, it lines up right here with the ADD FIRST REMARKS.
So this is a very controlled grid. It's just lovely. It's wholeheartedly modernist. Design Observer is also a modernist site. It uses the sans-serif font and it also uses a system of rule lines. It also uses a grid although it's not quite as controlled as what we saw in subtraction.com. This is an 11 column grid and there system is they have one column here and then four column for this, three columns and three columns. Up here the four column for their logo space reflects the four column being used here.
If we scroll down we can see this grid repeated in the Observatory Archive where the images make a three column grid within that space. But you'll also notice that other images and text are allowed to fluctuate from the grid,. Most sites don't use this controlled grid as the one we saw at subtraction.com. These kinds of grids don't always lend themselves to supporting readability or legible images. But we've seen these two sites before earlier in the course. Now I would like to show you a new one now, the Ministry of Type.
The Ministry of Type is also a modernist site. It uses a sans serif font and a modular grid. Again the grid is not as controlled as the one we saw at subtraction.com, but it's there and it's very strong actually. The logo width equals the width of the space below it and if we scroll down, you'll be able to see that that space the strong vertical lines between the elements continues all the way down the page. I am going to go ahead and stop here. The date and the categories always right align on this line and the title and the text always left align on this line and line up with the images.
You'll also see that there's a two to one relationship here, two to one, and sometimes the two to one you can see it in how the images are placed or cropped and other times you see it in the relationship between text and white space. And if we scroll back up you'll see that that relationship remains consistent. What's also interesting to me about this site is the way the designer adds the background color on the right. This creates a subtle but very present vertical line.
His images and the blue lines all come off that line and they reach out towards the left and this creates tension on the page. The tension is repeated here and how the dates and the categories also reached out to the left, coming off the line created by the title and the text. He creates almost a system of cantilevers, reaching out into space, and the space is as an important element in the content area as the text and images are.
This is what I think of when I think of architectural space. It's really beautiful. I also want to draw your attention to is use of color, the bright blue. He obviously uses it for his links, but if we scroll up to the top here, you can see he also uses it right there, just under the logo. It serves no other purpose then to draw our eye up and to emphasize the logo and the grid lines that are created by that white space coming down off of it. This is lovely and it's the kind of emphasis I often associate with the modernist page.
It really works with these counterpoints of blue that he's created within the texture of the text. So as you can see from analyzing the professional sites, more modernist sites tend to use primarily modernist visual elements. This doesn't mean they can't follow the traditional ideals of creating a lovely page for quiet contemplation. For example, articles in the Design Observer site are often long and rich with ideas that require careful reading. Today's typographer can mix and match typographic approaches even if they're using elements that feel aligned with modernism or traditionalism.
Again when you see a web site with good typography, feel free to analyze there design. How they laid out the page, how they created rhythm attention with the focal point a strong vertical line and attention to margins, padding and other white spaces. Don't hesitate to learn from other people's good type decisions. It will only help you make good type decisions too.
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