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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.
One of the best ways is going to inspired about what web fonts can add to your design is to see how other designers are using them. In this movie I want to give you a couple of resources that showcase sites using web fonts and point out a few of my favorites. The Web Fonts Gallery is a showcase site created to promote sites using web fonts. They have focused on sites with strong typography, clean markup, and creative design. Anyone could submit sites, so the content is updated frequently. One of the things I really like about the Web Fonts Gallery is that when you click on a site to examine it in more detail.
You get a listing of the web fonts used in the design. This is extremely helpful when you want to track down a specific font. Clicking on the font itself will then show you a list of other sites featured in the gallery that use that font as well. The Web Font Awards is a new awards site dedicated to raising the profile of web fonts among the web design community. Submissions were open to the public and visitors to the gallery could then rate submitted sites. Winners were determined by viewer ratings and a panel of judges from monotype.
This year's ceremony was held in the Future of Web Design Conference in November of 2010 and will hopefully become an annual event. The gallery is still active and it's a great place to see some truly inspiring design work, featuring web fonts. Clicking on a site also gives you additional information about the site including a list of fonts used in the design. Another of my favorite sources of information is the Typekit blog. Typekit is a wildly popular font hosting service and their blog is a fantastic source of information about web fonts.
One of their recurring columns is Sites We Like, which highlights several sites using web fonts and provides details about the showcase site. I also want to mention a few of my personal favorites. Typographica is a review of typography, typefaces, and the latest books in media focusing on typography. The site itself is a great source of information about typography and of course features beautiful web typography itself. Design Made in Germany was the winner of the 2010 Web fonts Award and features innovative typography and design.
The wonderful illustrations, creative use of CSS, and clean typography make it a joy to explore, even if you don't read German. Quipsologies is a blog that chronicles interesting projects and developments in the graphic design industry. The layout is very creative and the clear use of strong typography highlights the strengths of using web fonts. The New York Times is well known for typography and their opinion pages continue that tradition. Although it's a little bit cramped for my style, the use of web fonts for subheadings and headings complements the body copy and adds freshness to the site design.
Thinking with Type is an online resource that complements Alan Lipton's wonderful book of the same name. Besides being an amazing resource and wealth of information about typography, it's a site that practice what it preaches. The web fonts used look beautiful on screen and reinforce the emphasis on typography. That's just a few of the websites currently using web fonts to enhance and strengthen the design of their sites. Be sure to check out the galleries and resources that I have mentioned and I'm sure you'll find plenty of creative inspiration.
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