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For this installment of the First Look series, James Williamson reviews the current implementation and future direction of web fonts: downloadable font resources that can be retrieved with the CSS @font-face declaration. The course begins with the evolution of online typography and current CSS font capabilities, and then dives into the W3C CSS Fonts Module specification, showing how to utilize web fonts, ensure cross-browser consistency, and how to use CSS3 to enhance the styling of web fonts. Font hosting services and tools such as TypeKit and the Google Fonts API are demonstrated. Exercise files accompany the course.
Although this course is designed to give viewers a broad overview of the evolution of web fonts and the current techniques surrounding them, there are a few prerequisites that can make understanding the subject matter a bit easier. First, I recommend a broad background in HTML and CSS. The exercises feature a heavy use of CSS that could be a bit overwhelming to somebody that's new to using it in their sites. If you're unfamiliar with writing styles I recommend viewing one of the introductory CSS titles in the lynda.com Online Training Library before taking this course.
Since this title uses both the Typekit and the Google Font API services, several exercises must be viewed from a live server. In order for you to complete the exercises the way that they're written, you're going to need to have access to a live domain that you can upload files to and then test on. Now I've taken care to select open source fonts that you can download and self-host, if you want to complete the exercises without using those online hosted services. But if you choose this option, you're going to need to rewrite the exercise files to use only the self-hosted @font-face rule syntax that we will be covering a little bit later on.
If you meet none of those prerequisites, don't let this put you off to watching the title. Many of the movies are concept-based and they're designed to provide you with a solid understanding of web fonts and how they're an important part of the evolution of online design.
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