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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 lesson we're going to choose a web font to use. There are two ways to use web fonts. You can store the fonts on your own server and access them through the @font-face syntax. You can access the font files from someone else's server, using the syntax they provide. That's how font service providers like Typekit work. We are going to use the second method and we are going to use free fonts provided at Google.com/webfonts. Let's go to their site. As you can see, Google web fonts offers lots of free web fonts to link to and you won't have to download the font files and use the @font-face syntax.
In this lesson we're going to use Google web fonts to look for a clean, modern sans serif web font. Let's look at our Options. Remember when choosing a font for any text it's important to determine what you need the font to do. We need it to be legible, have a good bald and a good italic. We should like the numbers and I requested it look clean and modern. Looking at this page, they have added some font since the last time I was here. For instance Wire One is a sans serif font that wasn't here couple of weeks ago.
It's a little to condensed. I don't think it would hold up his text. The spaces get really small in the letters. It would be hard to read. Muli is also a new font that I haven't seen here before. Let's click on it. We can see that it has variants. That means we have a regular and an italic. This might work for us. Let me take a look at the variants.
I don't know. Their bold looks a little bit too light. I'm not sure if this is bold, how it's going to compare to the regular font. So we are not going to take a look at this one. Can back out, going back to the list here. Metrophobic, this looks like a good one. Looks nice and clean. It's got sort of a geometric edge to it. Unfortunately though, this one doesn't have any variants so there's no bold and no italic.
All right so this one won't work for us. Let's go back to the font list. I can go back in my browser or use this button. Next we are going to look at-- let me see if I can find it here-- Didact Gothic. I wanted to point this one out to you as well. It looks a little wobbly. It is sans serif, but I wanted you to notice how the bolds, they are not perfect circles and they are not ovals. They are sort of an egg shape look to them, which it doesn't make it a bad font but I'm not sure it's as clean as I would want it to be in this text.
Let's go back to the font list again and we are going to search for a font that I'm familiar with. I use Command+F here and we are going to look for ubuntu. I can see it has 8 variants and when I click on it, again I am taken to the specimen sheet, and here I can really see there is a difference between the bold and the regular. I can see the italic, but I can also see it's a little quirky.
Even though it has open bolds, a generous x-height and generous strokes. So there is a part of me that thinks it could work. You know there is something about the u's. See how it sort of comes into that little point there and then also on that N. So let me find an N here for you, on brown. See how it comes to the point at the top N. I'm not sure this is exactly the font I want, so what I have to do is I have to take a look at it in context to see if it will actually work for me. And there are a lot of fonts on Google web fonts for me to consider.
And I would like to see a number of them in context to see which ones the right one. So through the magic of editing what I have done is I've tested and prepared a couple of good sans serif fonts for us to look at. Gruppo is great for headlines, but it's too light and wide for text. Ubuntu, which we looked at on Google web fonts, is lovely and I hope to use it someday, but I think the U and the N as I pointed out earlier are just a bit too distinctive for this project. Lato is a very nice font and I like how legible it is. I think the italic might be a little bit too narrow though and there are a lot of titles to set in italic for this project.
So I want to make sure I really love the italic. Arimo is a fine font, but I was hoping for something with a more humanistic italic. Puritan is another nice font. I like the legibility. I'm not crazy about the old style numbers for this project though. PT Sans is a very nice font, very legible, and I really like the italic with this one. I think we'll go with the PT Sans. But you know we need to double-check the bold weight first, just to make sure it has everything we need. And the bold is fine.
It remains legible while creating emphasis. So we are all set. When choosing a web font, it's even more important to keep an eye on legibility and if a font has everything you need for the job like bold and italic. There are so many fonts to choose from and some are going to seem pretty cool until you try them with your actual text. So keep focused on what you we need from the font. It will help you narrow down your choices. In the next lesson we will use Google's web font syntax to add the PT Sans to our web page.
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