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Typography for Web Designers
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Choosing a web-safe font for use in text


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Typography for Web Designers

with Laura Franz

Video: Choosing a web-safe font for use in text

When choosing any font for test it's important to consider what you will need the font to do. That is how will you use the font. For example, do you need the font to have it bold for subheads or other emphasis? Do you need the font to have an italic? Do you need the font to work very large, maybe for a headline or a pull quote, or very small maybe for a caption or footnote? Does the text have a lot of capital letters or numbers? How do different fonts measure up when you need these things? I will often look carefully at 4 or 5 fonts, sometimes even more when starting a project.
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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 web-safe font for use in text

When choosing any font for test it's important to consider what you will need the font to do. That is how will you use the font. For example, do you need the font to have it bold for subheads or other emphasis? Do you need the font to have an italic? Do you need the font to work very large, maybe for a headline or a pull quote, or very small maybe for a caption or footnote? Does the text have a lot of capital letters or numbers? How do different fonts measure up when you need these things? I will often look carefully at 4 or 5 fonts, sometimes even more when starting a project.

Here we are going to compare 2 fonts, Verdana and Georgia. We can see that Verdana's bold has more generous counter forms and retains legibility at small sizes. So if your text needs bold words or sentences Verdana might be a better choice. But Georgia's italic is more calligraphic. If your text requires the use of italic and you want the italic words to look more humanist and elegant, Georgia might be a better choice. And of course all fonts are different. We are only comparing Verdana and Georgia right now.

When looking at other fonts, it's especially important to look at their italic. Some web fonts don't come with a true italic. So when you try to use font-style: italic, the browser simply skews the letters over. Compare the top As and Ls and you can really see the difference. The single decker flowing A and the curved L get lost when using what we call a fake italic or false italic. The fake italic isn't as beautiful as the true italic and loses legibility when set in text.

So if you need to use italic in your text, make sure the font has a true italic. Many contemporary sans serif fonts have more humanist italics these days. If you want to use a sans serif font but also want more elegant italic, you can find both. Again notice the bottom sans serif italic A is single decker and flows. The L also has the curve at the bottom. And when the type gets very large like in headlines, Georgia will give you more elegant feeling, while Verdana will give you a feeling of clarity.

11 pixel type is pretty small for the screen. If you're going to use such small type, a font like Verdana with a very open counter forms and a generous x-height will work better for you than Georgia. If you're using a lot of numbers, you will want to look at the numbers each front comes with. Georgia has what we call old-style numbers. They have ascenders and descenders and work really well in text. They look elegant and don't stand out as much. Verdana has what we call lining figures. Notice how the numbers are as big and as powerful as the capital letters.

This can cause numbers to stand out in a block of text. Let's choose a web safe font for our next project. We will be doing a list of typographic resources. We will need a headline for each resource as well as an italic title in each description. It may include some numbers, so we should look at those. Either Georgia or Verdana could work. Now I am going to add another requirement. We are going to create a traditional elegant feeling. So looking at the shapes of the letters and the shapes of the italics, I think we should go with a serif font.

I'm thinking Georgia. Of course there is more than one serif web safe font. We are not even going to consider Courier, since typewriter type isn't elegant, but we should consider Times New Roman just to be sure that Georgia is our best choice. Georgia's italic is slightly rounder and more flowing. We will be using italic a lot in this project and I want to make sure the italic is as beautiful as possible. I also prefer Georgia's numbers. They are the old-style numbers which feel very traditional.

I'm not sure we'll have a lot of numbers in the text, but if we do think I want them to be old style. So we will go with Georgia. It has a traditional look with its serif. It has a lovely italic, nice old-style figures, and it works well large for the resource settings. We can create a very traditional feeling with Georgia. In the next lesson we will apply Georgia to the text in our project.

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A: Discover more about this topic by visiting graphic design on lynda.com.
 
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