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Typography for Web Designers

Choosing a background color or image for the modernist bibliography


From:

Typography for Web Designers

with Laura Franz

Video: Choosing a background color or image for the modernist bibliography

Now that the text and links are worked out, we will add a background color or image to the page. This will create an edge to our page, as well as add color and maybe even texture. When looking for a background color, we could use something with a little contrast to help emphasize the edges of the page. We need something that works with the black, blue, and yellow palette of the page. We might consider using another blue, but it feels too similar to the navigation links. We might try using red, because red is a popular modernist color and we're styling this page with a modernist theme, but quite frankly, bright colors tend to draw attention away from the content on the page.
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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

Choosing a background color or image for the modernist bibliography

Now that the text and links are worked out, we will add a background color or image to the page. This will create an edge to our page, as well as add color and maybe even texture. When looking for a background color, we could use something with a little contrast to help emphasize the edges of the page. We need something that works with the black, blue, and yellow palette of the page. We might consider using another blue, but it feels too similar to the navigation links. We might try using red, because red is a popular modernist color and we're styling this page with a modernist theme, but quite frankly, bright colors tend to draw attention away from the content on the page.

The navigation links in particular get lost surrounded by the red. I tend to gravitate toward duller or more quiet colors, maybe a warm gray or a duller red. But neither of these is great with our blue and yellow palette. And I've been planning to bring in an image anyway. So let's do that instead. When preparing for this course before we established a color palette, I started by searching for a texture, but even a clean, geometric image feels too decorative when tiled across the background.

Maybe it's the repetition of form, or the loss of space. Maybe it's the decorative nature of a background texture. It just doesn't feel right to me when we're trying to create clarity. Then I started thinking, maybe we should use a single image, something that could just peek out from behind a web page. It could further emphasize the architectural space of the modernist page. Unlike a background texture image, it's much harder to find a single image online. Using a single image means you are going to need something meaningful, as well as formally aligned with your style.

I set some guidelines for myself to help me stay focused on choosing an appropriate image. The image should be meaningful. That is, it should be related to the content. The image should fit with our modernist theme and promote clarity and simplicity. If possible, it would be great if the image could emphasize the idea of architectural space. Maybe jutting out into the space. Maybe having strong horizontal and vertical lines. And of course it shouldn't end up feeling more important than the content itself. I was interested in playing off the idea of architectural space.

I tried using a picture of the building where I teach type classes. It has great architectural space. But the page starts to feel like it's about the place, the building, not the content of the page, which is typography resources. Next I tried using the letter a as a graphic to represent the variety and possibilities of working with type on the web. But it feels too generic and visually it has too much texture. Finally, I thought of using an image of books and a laptop to represent the resources listed on the page.

By stacking them I was able to get a bit of an architectural space in the image. Not as spectacular a structure as the building, but there are vertical and horizontal lines and I purposely created a jagged edge on the book pile to emphasize space. I like the meaning and the look of the image, but there is a problem. I don't like the white strip of emptiness to the right of the web page. This will look worse on large monitors. And I don't like the way the books are just floating in white space. What if we flipped the yellow into the background of the browser, this helps us in a couple of ways.

The white webpage pops out more, the books feel a little more grounded, and our blue links pop out more too. But I think the yellow is a little bright with the image, so I dull it down slightly and the books stand out more. Unfortunately, we lose the yellow of the original palette, but we can bring it back in a bit, adding it as an accent in the rule line. It's a shift from our original color palette, but I think it works better. Sometimes we need to be willing to make changes as our design becomes more complex.

So we've picked an image for the page. It's legal to use, I made it myself, and it works with the theme of our page.

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