Thanks to Henri Labarre’s 2803 blog, I came across Marko Dugonjić’s Typetester, a program that enables one to check how different typefaces appear on one’s computer. Three typeface families can be compared in various settings. It was in beta last year, and went into its ﬁnal form earlier this year.
Typetester accesses the fonts on one’s hard drive, so if some defaults are not installed, then they will not show. (In other words, no default-font embedding actually takes place.) It re-creates one’s own font menu and puts its entries into its lower menu for selection.
It’s one of the best tools online to help people choose a typeface, along with settings for leading, tracking, colour and background. After the right setting is chosen, Typetester can create the relevant code for CSS. The old problem with web typography still exists, however: if another user does not have the chosen typeface installed, it will still not show.
About 15 years ago, we were concerned that the public was not being educated about how to use type properly. With tools like Typetester, people may see just how typography is a craft and legibility and readability do not “just happen”. I believe Typetester, inter alia, will help people discover what a craft typography and typeface design are. Posted by Jack Yan, 03:34
Wow. That is a fantastic site! I got a kick out of comparing Helvetica and Verdana. Even though Helvetica is a bit dated, it looks much more elegant as a sans-serif option when put up against Verdana's clunkiness. Thanks for posting such a great resource!
# posted by Peter Begley: 6/04/2006 07:08:00 AM
You’re welcome, Peter! I like Helvetica, too, with the greatest respect to my friends Matthew Carter and Vinnie Connare (who created Verdana). Verdana is perhaps too much a creature of the web, and while it is superior to read on-screen, Helvetica’s shapes give us some comfort thanks to their familiarity.
Ah, the battle between elegance and utility... I've used Verdana as a staple for about 90% of the web sites I've built, specifically for its utility and readability. I think it is funny (and a little sad) that I brush it off so quickly even though I have used it so heavily over the years!
# posted by Peter Begley: 6/04/2006 06:17:00 PM
I have a print-ﬁrst approach to my design, on the theory that screen type will get closer and closer to that of print, so why not start with the highest form of typography? Hence, I have used Verdana, but not that often—for me, the percentage would probably be in the 25 or 30 per cent mark, with Gill Sans, Helvetica, and others rating higher. However, Georgia is quite elegant and seems to work well in both media.
I like your print-first approach -- it makes a lot of sense and probably raises the design bar quite a bit. To be honest, I'm a bit of a hack when it comes to design, and when I look back at some of the decisions I made in the past, I get a bit embarrassed. It makes me wonder what I'm going to think of my current designs in a few years!Post a Comment
# posted by Peter Begley: 6/06/2006 02:58:00 PM
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