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Choosing a web font from the Google Font API for use in text

From: Typography for Web Designers

Video: Choosing a web font from the Google Font API for use in text

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.

Choosing a web font from the Google Font API for use in text

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Typography for Web Designers
Typography for Web Designers

74 video lessons · 13531 viewers

Laura Franz
Author

 
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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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