Nice Web Type

For the betterment of typographic style and practice.

Nice Web Type is one place for web typography, following experiments, advancements, and best practices in typesetting web text. Handcrafted by Tim Brown, Type Manager for Adobe Typekit.

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Twitter: @nicewebtype Dribbble: timbrown

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QBN Typecase: Recommended Fonts - a set on Flickr

Stephen Coles: “The QBN Typecase, a feature I created in 2005 for trendy design portal Newstoday. I am no longer editor of the column, but it was a good gig while it lasted. It entailed two of my…

Controlling Web Typography

Slides from a talk Trent Walton recently gave.

Responsive Web Design, the book

As web workers, we know that part of our job is to learn, and re-evaluate practices before we are overcome by false certainty. On the other hand, we have no time to waste. Nobody understands this dichotomy better than A Book Apart.

Ethan Marcotte’s book is efficient, entertaining, and full of good ideas. The techniques he explains have already been battle-tested and are accepted industry-wide as the canonical way websites should now be built.

Hard to overstate the significance of this title. If you make websites, it is your business to own this book — and because it’s from A Book Apart, you can read, learn, and keep on working. No wasted anything. 100% protein.

Jake Archibald on @font-face

Recommended: browser support notes (slide 39), the whole “Downloading” section (slides 40-52), and Jake’s font-size-adjust formula (slides 104-105). Shame only one of those three hairy explanations is a joke.

Luc Devroye's history of type

Tons of links.

CSS Mask-Image & Text

Trent Walton:

As a web designer, I want the same level of control over type that print designers have, including texture. There are currently 2 webkit CSS properties that I’ve grown to love and hope gain more traction & browser support. My favorite would have to be background-clip:text, but it currently degrades poorly. A close second is mask-image, which you can apply to text.

I did something similar with mask-image on this Filthy headline in 2009, but not in nearly as future-proof (or gnarly!) a way as Trent. I used a vendor prefix without a non-prefixed property as backup. Alas, Dan Cederholm’s CSS3 for Web Designers was still a ways from being published, so I plead ignorance.

WebKit hardware acceleration and type rendering

Adam Singer for Posterous:

If [an] element has any kind of 3D transformation applied to it, it gets hardware acceleration. Even if you change the opacity of an element, it gets hardware acceleration. When an element gets hardware accelerated in Webkit, sub-pixel anti-aliasing no longer works.

See also: CSS properties that affect type rendering

Elementar, a parametric bitmap font system


Rather than try to adapt ‘printable fonts’ to the screen, this system embraces the distinctive characteristics of digital media, producing fonts designed specifically for electronic displays, eliminating the need for hinting or ‘smart’ rasterisers. Although its bitmap fonts are non-scaleable and size-specific, it achieves flexibility by using a family of thousands of ‘pre-scaled’ fonts.

Responsive design and FitText

Trent Walton:

This jQuery plugin inflates web type to fill its parent element. No matter what size window, you’ve got full width text. … It goes without saying that you’d never ever use this on paragraph text (I hope), but in the right place, FitText makes responsive web design even more exciting.

Granjon’s descendants May 10, 2011

Paul Shaw for Print, on Kai Bernau’s Lyon:

Although they are both based on the work of Granjon, Lyon is very different from ITC Galliard by Matthew Carter. Whereas Galliard is sparkling in the roman and aggressive in the italic, Lyon is quieter in the roman and warmly lively in the italic. This is partly because the designers worked from different types by Granjon, from different stages of his career—Carter from the 1570 Gros-parangon roman and the 1571 Gros-parangon italic in Granjon’s late (baroque) phase, Bernau from an unspecified roman and the 1564 Gros-canon italic in Granjon’s middle phase.

Warren Chappel, A Short History of the Printed Word, p. 117-119:

Granjon worked … for Christophe Plantin in Antwerp.


Between 1568 and 1572 the printing office of Plantin was engaged in a large undertaking commissioned by Philip II of Spain; an eight-volume publication whose title was Biblia regia. Printed in five languages – Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Latin and Syriac – it came to be known as the polyglot Bible.

Perhaps the types upon which ITC Galliard is based, having been created while Christophe Plantin’s printing office was working on the polyglot Bible for the Spanish king, exhibit a particular flavor because of that influence – a vibrant Spanish glimmer, or the sharpness of religious exaltation – and maybe this influence persists in Galliard?

And perhaps Lyon, a more subdued face by Paul Shaw’s estimation, having been influenced by Granjon types from several years before Plantin’s office was commissioned by Philip II, is quieter because of its ancestors’ less ambitious reasons for existing?

Learning about type designers’ influences, and mixing that with a little bit of history, makes you think hard about how you might use type differently because of its background.

Ask me about this · #History#ITC Galliard#Lyon#Granjon

Fonts In Use: Norwegian Short Film Festival

The typography of previous years (using Univers Compressed) was dated, and more importantly, had a very “establishment” air, which was not at all the spirit of the event. The team introduced Gravur Condensed by Cornel Windlin of Lineto. Though based on standardized template lettering quite common in Switzerland for years, Gravur has a contemporary personality in this context, and its round ends perfectly match the round ends of the Golden Chair icon. This pairing is even more harmonious when the type and symbol share the same line width.

Cultural perspective adds so much to these observations. Nice work, Mr. Coles.

Point Size and the Em Square: Not What People Think

Thomas Phinney: “The challenging question is, what part of a 12-​​point font is 12 points high? For digital type, the short answer is ‘none.’”

A Richer Canvas

Mark Boulton: “If […] layouts are based on a system that defines its ratios from the content, then there is connectedness on two levels: connectedness to the device, and connectedness to the…

Using web fonts in desktop design apps

Elliot Jay Stocks muses on easy desktop versions of web fonts. My guess is that all of the solutions he proposes will come to be, and designers will prefer the easiest one.

Slides, audio, and notes from SXSW Mar 22, 2011

I wasn’t in Austin to attend SXSW Interactive, so I’m thankful that Richard Rutter and Stephen Coles have shared materials from their respective presentations.

Rich’s talk, Where Web Typography Goes to Next, is a valid critique of some current annoyances and an exciting overview of what we can expect from the CSS3 Fonts Module, including bits on OpenType feature support and hyphenation proposals.

Stephen was joined by Jason Santa Maria, Tiffany Wardle, and Frank Chimero on a panel called Cure for the Common Font. Each person gave a short, focused talk, and the second half of the time slot was devoted to Q&A. You won’t find a more resourceful group of folks this attuned to web fonts. Be sure to scour the links at the bottom of Stephen’s Typographica post, and check out Gerren Lamson’s sketch notes too.

Good stuff, all.

Ask me about this · #News

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