Fluid Web Typography by Jason Cranford

I have to admit I wasn’t the one to go if you wanted to take a decision that involved web typography, since I would just have told you to use Verdana. But I read a great book that I just have to talk about

The book is Fluid Web Typography: A Guide by Jason Cranford Teague, and it was given to me during the second day of the Web App Masters Tour in Philadelphia by Ken Kellogg (and I’m still very grateful to him about it since I didn’t answer his questions right…).

Cranford basically starts telling us that we all rely on web safe fonts, the ones that we all already know:

  1. Times
  2. Arial
  3. Georgia
  4. Verdana
  5. Trebuchet

But these are just five fonts. There are about 100,000 fonts available and we are using just five. Not only that, but also we just normally choose them at random.

Well, mayb not so randomly, we might consider stuff like “It’ll be for longer paragraphs so we need it to be legible, let’s pick Verdana” or “We’ll just use it for headers, so Times is ok”. But your web site font shouldn’t just consider these aspects. You should think of it like ‘Your voice’. What do you want your voice to sound like? Do you want it to sound Verdana, just like everybody else’s?

Cranford gives us a lot of great ideas on how to broaden our font universe, like considering for example the pre-installed fonts that are both in Windows and Mac, the predominant operating systems world-wide. If we consider that, our five fonts become 68. And that’s not even the end of it!

It’s a highly recommended lecture, I won’t get farther into it… maybe on later posts.