What the Font…

When I first started making websites 10 or 11 years ago one of my biggest frustrations was the almost complete lack of control over how text was rendered in web browsers. The adoption of CSS helped some, allowing us to use cleaner markup and to separate the display layer from the content. CSS also gave us better control over things like line-height and letter-spacing, but it certainly hasn’t solved all of the web’s text related problems.

There are still major issues facing designers who want to create complex text layouts or preserve the rich typography and layout of certain types of text, such as preserving the format of poetry. These limitations are especially frustrating for those without a lot of HTML experience, like people who are responsible for managing their company website using text editors in content management systems. When I train people how to use content management systems, text formatting is easily the biggest frustration people have, and I get more questions about type and text layout than any other technical issue.

At least one area of web type is improving. Thankfully, it is getting easier and easier to finally start using a rich range of fonts online. Now, with a growing variety of tools we are no longer limited to the handful of web-safe fonts we’ve all come to know and love over the past 17 years. If you want to know more about the evolution of web typography and the various tools and methodologies now available, read Richard Fink’s article Web Fonts at the Crossing on A List Apart

Instead of rehashing these summaries, each month for the next several months I am going to try out a different method for implementing web fonts on my site. I will then report back on the results I have with each tool.

First up – Typekit, which is a standards compliant subscription service for fonts. You simply create an account, add a line of javascript to your site, assign your fonts and off you go. The best part is that the service degrades gracefully for people who have javascript disabled. I will give a complete write up of my time with Typekit at the end of the month.

New Job

Finally, a bit of exciting news, at least for me. Starting Monday I will join the Web Development and Usability Team at Country Financial. I am excited to be joining a great company, and I look forward to this new opportunity. Of course, whenever one door opens another, as they say, closes. I would like to publicly thank everybody I have worked with at Mavidea Technology Group over the past 3+ years. Mavidea provided me a tremendous opportunity and a great environment in which to learn and grow, and I wish everybody at Mavidea continued success going forward.

My Three Albums of the Week:

  1. The Old 97′s – The Grand Theatre Volume One
  2. Drive-by Truckers – The Big To Do
  3. Bottle Rockets – The Brooklyn Side

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