Typography and the bad bad web
It’s infuriating, sad and pathetic all at the same time. But how was Tim Berners-Lee supposed to know that his academic document tool would become the next high density communication medium of the coming millennium? Typefaces, complex lay-outs (heck even simple lay-outs), baseline grids, measure and kerning never played a part in his considerations it seems. Perhaps just as well, the web may have never happened otherwise. We’re here now and to the dismay of many designers the web and typography still don’t get along very well. You have to force them to work together and suffer the less than perfect result. To deliver typography on the web you have to come to terms with the fact that it took the evolution of printing centuries to rise the level it reached before computers started doing Desk Top Publishing (DTP) during the 80’s.
First and foremost, typography serves the content. Aesthetics, identity and flights of fancy are secondary issues where legibility is concerned. Marc Boulton’s write-up on some of the typographic basics serves the web design community well. We all should take note that though selecting a font family is important it is more tied to aesthetics and identity than to content. User centric design is what web standards are all about and taking care of your measure and leading should be high on your list of things to get right. As a designer it’s not your content, it’s belongs to the users. So thinking about typography should be a seamless part of web design and front-end production. Where to start?
Part 1: Typographic Basics