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Typography for Web Designers
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Understanding how we read


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Typography for Web Designers

with Laura Franz

Video: Understanding how we read

When we read, we don't read every word individually like this. Reading is a complex activity. People use both their central vision and their peripheral vision to process more than one word at a time. People fixate on certain words and fill in the rest. People scan across lines of text and down lines of text at the same time.
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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

Understanding how we read

When we read, we don't read every word individually like this. Reading is a complex activity. People use both their central vision and their peripheral vision to process more than one word at a time. People fixate on certain words and fill in the rest. People scan across lines of text and down lines of text at the same time.

If text is too hard to read, people will scan down to the next line or even the next paragraph. Thus, we need to make reading text is easy as possible. One way to make reading easier is to make sure words illegible, so the reader's eye doesn't have to slow down and their brain doesn't have to work harder to recognize a word. People read word shapes, not individual letters. We can keep word shapes intact by using lowercase letters. Lowercase letters have A centers and D centers, so word shapes are more distinctive.

Do not set large amounts of text in all caps, because word shapes get lost. Save all caps for a small amount of text like headlines, a pull quote, or for emphasis. Space in between letters also promotes legibility, because people use the strokes and spaces in letters in order to recognize word shapes. Use normal font weight in style for large amounts of text. Bold text and italic text tend to lose the spaces in between letter and are more difficult to read. This is Verdana.

But Georgia has a similar problem in the bold. Save bold and italic for small amounts of text, like headlines, a pull quote, or for emphasis. Another way to make reading large amounts of text easier is to promote horizontal motion in reading. Encouraging people eyes to move forward along a line; otherwise the instinct to scan down will win and draw their eye down to the next section of text. Promote an horizontal motion by setting text at a correct size.

Text that is too big or too small becomes difficult to read. Big text is hard to read, because not enough words fit in the peripheral vision we use when we read. Small text is hard to read because it's difficult to recognize word shapes. Again save overly big or small text for small amounts of text. Promote horizontal motion by sending a generous line height. Lines of tests that are too close together are harder to read, because the horizontal lines begin to melt into one another and become a fabric of texture, rather than individual lines of text.

Lines of text that are too far apart begin to float away from each other and are difficult to recognize as belonging together. Set the text in a comfortable line length. Lines of text that are too long are harder to read, because your eyes have to travel so far along the line before traveling back to the start of the next line. Lines of text that are too short begin to feel choppy and lose the rhythm of the text. Give the reader a common left edge to return to after reading each line.

Providing a ragged left edge makes reading harder, because people need to find a starting point of each new line. Thus justified and align left are recommended for large amounts of text. Of the two, justified text tends to cause more problems with awkward word spacing, so I recommend align left. Align center can be used for small amounts of text, such as headlines, captions, and pull quotes. Align right is appropriate for captions and pull quotes.

Neither is bad. They simply don't promote readability for large amounts of text, because they don't provide a common left edge for people's eyes to return to, or to scan down while reading. Reading is a complex process. We can make it easier on our readers by continuing to promote legibility, via use of case, weight and style. We can also make reading easier, by paying attention to size, line height, line length, and alignment.

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


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Q: Where can I learn more about graphic design?
A: Discover more about this topic by visiting graphic design on lynda.com.
 
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