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Typography for Web Designers

Analyzing the modernist typographic elements on the professional sites


From:

Typography for Web Designers

with Laura Franz

Video: Analyzing the modernist typographic elements on the professional sites

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.
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  1. 6m 18s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 57s
    3. Things to consider before starting this course
      3m 12s
  2. 41m 3s
    1. Understanding how good typography promotes reading
      2m 9s
    2. Understanding legibility
      4m 41s
    3. Understanding how fonts convey meaning
      5m 19s
    4. Choosing web-safe fonts to convey meaning
      6m 13s
    5. Using font size, case, style, letter spacing, weight, and color to convey meaning
      6m 22s
    6. Choosing web fonts to convey meaning
      6m 23s
    7. Downloading web fonts
      4m 9s
    8. Applying web fonts in CSS with @font-face
      5m 47s
  3. 38m 0s
    1. Choosing a web-safe font for use in text
      4m 13s
    2. Applying the web-safe font to the text and the heading
      3m 4s
    3. Setting a class for the resource titles in the text
      3m 45s
    4. Choosing a second web-safe font for the heading
      2m 42s
    5. Applying the second font to the heading
      2m 16s
    6. Choosing a web font from the Google Font API for use in text
      5m 44s
    7. Adding and applying the Google Font API syntax
      4m 29s
    8. Choosing a second web font from the Google Font API for the heading
      2m 56s
    9. Adding and applying the second font to the heading
      4m 52s
    10. Analyzing the fonts on some professional sites
      3m 59s
  4. 55m 31s
    1. Understanding how we read
      4m 34s
    2. Finding and applying a good font size and line height
      4m 50s
    3. Finding and applying a good line length
      8m 6s
    4. Understanding ems
      6m 17s
    5. Using ems to set font size
      6m 9s
    6. Using ems to set line length
      3m 40s
    7. Understanding how color affects readability
      3m 58s
    8. Improving a color palette by improving contrast
      5m 39s
    9. Improving a color palette by reducing optical vibration
      4m 59s
    10. Analyzing text readability on the professional sites
      7m 19s
  5. 1h 11m
    1. Understanding how we "chunk" visual elements
      3m 59s
    2. Developing a system of hierarchy
      2m 17s
    3. Applying hierarchy in HTML and CSS
      7m 16s
    4. Developing a system to help chunk text for readers
      6m 1s
    5. Applying the system in the CSS
      4m 19s
    6. Changing an element by creating and applying a class
      5m 0s
    7. Using multiple columns to create hierarchy
      4m 12s
    8. Building a two-column system in HTML and CSS
      10m 56s
    9. Refining the horizontal space in a two-column layout
      6m 1s
    10. Adding rule lines to improve chunking
      5m 50s
    11. Adding emphasis within a heading
      4m 36s
    12. Analyzing the chunking on the professional sites
      11m 18s
  6. 17m 57s
    1. Understanding classic and modernist typographic pages
      7m 3s
    2. Understanding how to create rhythm and tension
      6m 0s
    3. Applying typography skills when making design decisions
      4m 54s
  7. 55m 47s
    1. Designing typographic links for the traditional page
      5m 54s
    2. Adding a list of links to the traditional page
      8m 44s
    3. Describing the link states in CSS
      6m 30s
    4. Returning links to their original "unvisited" style
      2m 38s
    5. Using different CSS for different kinds of links
      7m 28s
    6. Using CSS notation to organize syntax
      5m 34s
    7. Choosing a background color or image
      4m 0s
    8. Applying a repeating background image
      2m 58s
    9. Shaping the traditional page layout
      6m 38s
    10. Analyzing the traditional typographic elements on the professional sites
      5m 23s
  8. 43m 0s
    1. Designing typographic links for the modernist page
      6m 47s
    2. Making a list of links run across the page
      2m 14s
    3. Adding and removing space between the navigation links
      6m 50s
    4. Styling the inline links on the modernist page
      5m 33s
    5. Choosing a background color or image for the modernist bibliography
      4m 4s
    6. Applying a no-repeat background image
      4m 13s
    7. Shaping the modernist page layout
      6m 58s
    8. Analyzing the modernist typographic elements on the professional sites
      6m 21s
  9. 52m 53s
    1. Fixing quotation marks and apostrophes
      6m 59s
    2. Fixing dashes
      6m 33s
    3. Working with lining figures (numbers) and acronyms
      9m 28s
    4. Fixing characters that don't look right
      8m 19s
    5. Hanging punctuation
      2m 54s
    6. Applying typographic accents
      2m 36s
    7. Vertically centering text
      5m 18s
    8. Creating drop caps
      5m 59s
    9. Analyzing the typographic details on the professional sites
      4m 47s
  10. 3m 9s
    1. Additional resources
      3m 9s

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Typography for Web Designers
6h 25m Appropriate for all Jul 14, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Understanding how good typography promotes reading
  • Choosing web-safe fonts
  • Applying web fonts in CSS with @font-face
  • Adding and applying the Google Fonts syntax
  • Finding and applying a good font size, line height, and line length
  • Improving a color palette by improving contrast and reducing optical vibration
  • Understanding how people mentally organize, or chunk, visual elements
  • Applying a system of hierarchy in HTML and CSS
  • Applying vertical spacing in CSS
  • Adding emphasis within a heading
  • Understanding classic and modernist typographic pages
  • Adding a list of links
  • Creating drop caps
  • Fixing quotation marks, apostrophes, and dashes
Subjects:
Typography Web Web Design Web Fonts Web Foundations
Software:
TextWrangler
Author:
Laura Franz

Analyzing the modernist typographic elements on the professional sites

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.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Typography for Web Designers.


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