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Web typography, simplified, decoded, deconstructed. That was
the focus of our sixth “Breakthroughs” webinar, featuring Tim Brown, type
manager at Typekit and author of the great blog Nice
Web Type. Thanks to cross-browser support for
CSS @font-face—and font services such as Typekit that make licensing and
implementing distinct typefaces easy to do—typographic customization and
control are at web designers’ fingertips like never before.
No longer are designers confined and constricted by the
curse of too few typefaces. No longer do we have to design with one hand behind
our backs. As Tim mentioned, designers had been forced to design to
technological constraints and kludgy workarounds first, rather than focusing
our design talents and skills on the content and user experience of reading
that content. But with services like Typekit, Web Type, Fontdeck and many
others, designers are able to meet web standards and aesthetic
standards simultaneously. We can focus on creating content that is readable,
functional, searchable, accessible and, yes, beautiful. Because beauty matters
and is an important part of the user experience.
We discussed the history of web type and then gave Tim the
floor to show his clear and instructive demo, which reiterated elements covered
in past webinars of this series; namely HTML5, CSS3 and responsive design
techniques. He explained elements that support typographic control: the ability
to create paragraph indents, for example, and the aside tag, which makes for a
more seamless integration of pull quotes, contextual references, and navigation
elements in an HTML structure. Good typography doesn’t exist in a vacuum of
typefaces alone—it takes a system to create good typography. And part of this
system is structure.
On a macro level, Tim repeatedly referred to our ability to,
through good typography and design, enhance our designs with content conceived
from the ground up. Starting with the strategic selection of typefaces that
cascade throughout the layout, we can infuse meaning into designs in ways that
weren't possible with limited typefaces and differentiate our websites from
Tim also spoke about how effortless it now is to use
typefaces legally—difficult to do before type services came around, so even
designers who wanted to license fonts could not. And of course, paying for
fonts is the right thing to do—type designers deserve to be paid for their
work—so web-font services make doing the right thing easy. For designers,
clients and users, it’s a win-win situation.
In addition to the links provided, AIGA members can log in to watch the archive of this webinar.
Great designers need more than good ideas to succeed. In this exclusive members-only webinar series, visionary
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you to your next breakthrough.
Section: Tools and Resources -
On July 27, Callie Neylan, Dan Mall and Scott Fegette presented a “Breakthroughs” webinar on responsive web design, with handy tips AIGA members could put to use right away. Here are more resources they recommend.
Section: Inspiration -
interaction design, web design, professional development
As webfonts are buoyed by a
wave of early-adopter enthusiasm, they’re marred by unevenness
in quality. In this video from the 2011 “Pivot: AIGA Design Conference,” Jonathan Hoefler raises compelling questions about what it means for typography to be visually,
mechanically, and culturally appropriate to the web.
Section: Events and Competitions -
Conference , AIGA Design Conference, typography, web design
When it comes to type design, is yielding control to the
masses a good thing? Hunt answers with an emphatic yes,
thanks to the democratizing software Fontself.
Section: Inspiration -
Why are technical manuals—even the best of them—designed to make smart people feel vegetative? Biersdorfer, herself a manual writer, says there's hope on the horizon.
Section: Inspiration -
Voice, web design, advice
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