15 Great Examples of Web Typography

Quarter 2, 2008

Welcome to iLT’s second-quarter roundup of sites that use type well. It may be that not all the sites listed here are to your taste, but it’s hoped that something—even a detail somewhere—will inspire you. Invariably, these lists are subjective, so if you disagree, then feel free to do so in the comments below. If this list provokes discussion of what constitutes good web typography, then all the better. The designs are listed in no particular order. Click on the screen-shot to visit the site. Enjoy!

Designing the News

High contrast between header and main content area, lots of white space and well organised.

Designing the News

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Sunday Type: mirror type

Don’t Command I ⌘ B

Welcome to May’s first Sunday Type. Yes, it’s May already! First is this great poster found via the equally great Designer Daily. The lower version is the poster as viewed in a mirror (or flipped horizontally in PhotoShop). A nice idea:

cyrillic mirror

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Face to Face

An Interview With Nadine Chahine

Nadine Chahine is an incredibly talented Lebanese type designer with a very special interest in Arabic typography. She taught Arabic type design as a visiting lecturer at the American University in Dubai and then joined Linotype, Germany, where she is now in charge of Sales Marketing and Arabic-related projects. As of September 2007 she is also a PhD candidate and her topic is legibility studies for the Arabic script.

nadine chahine

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Sunday Type: smoking type

A Font a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?

It feels as though someone stole Wednesday and Thursday. Anyway, not much that can be done about that. Let’s get things rolling on a lighter note. Typophile, holds a great themed competition—or battle—each week. This week’s is one that anyone can have a go at:

Garamond and Zebrawood walk into a bar, they have a few drinks and one thing leads to another…. Create from scratch, the typographic love child of: Garamond and Zebrawood.

Just click on over to Typophile to get involved. And still on a lighter note, this rather unfortunate logo for the UK’s Office of Government Commerce. Be sure to rotate your logo designs before submitting to the client!

No comment. Via typographer.org.

Font Game Update

I’m pleased to announce that after a lot of hard work (on Kari’s part), the hugely popular Rather Difficult Font Game is now hosted on iLT.

Kari has some great plans for the game, including expanding the number of typefaces. Oh, and there’s an iPhone version too. 
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eXtreme Type Terminology

“The very air of the room seemed charmingly alive with little floating dollar signs and fat little ciphers, commas, more ciphers, all winging around happily, waiting for a mere scratch of the pen to call them into action.”
—Dawn Powell, Angels on Toast, 1938.

The Roman alphabet came equipped with its own numbering system, and Roman numerals still have their uses. They are commonly seen, for instance, on clock faces, in movie credits, and on the pages of a book which precede the introduction and the text itself. The letters M D C L X V and I, used in combination and sometimes with a bar over the letter, Roman numerals can signify all whole or natural numbers. Well, everything but zero (0). The zero was invented in India, and it has maintained the same form, generally a circle but sometimes just a dot, ever since.

Roman numerals

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Sunday Type: matrix type

Not Starring Keanu Reaves

Welcome to iLT’s 100th post. Thanks to everyone who sent in questions and who read and commented on my interview with Jos Buivenga. Also, thanks to Jos for being such a good sport, and taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the man from exljbris.

First, a rather nice combination—food and type. And what a name! I introduce to you (deep breath) the gastorotypographicalassemblage:

gastrotypoassemblage

Thanks to Lauren for the link.

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Face to Face

When it comes to type, some great things have come out of Arnhem in the Netherlands. Jos Buivenga is no exception. Art Director and type designer, well-known for his quality free fonts, Jos is quite a talent, and has quite a passion for type. After numerous requests from readers, I finally got around to interviewing the man behind exljbris.

Why do you design typefaces?

It has grown on me. It’s now more or less like breathing to me. I can’t help it. I just want to do it. It allows me to be highly involved—or even lose myself—in a creative process. That’s the most important thing in my life. I’ve had similar experiences with painting and writing short stories, but it doesn’t come close to designing type. I’ve taught myself and still have lots to learn but I hope to improve with every typeface I make.

sketch

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Sunday type: ampersand type

It Must Be Slanted

Before we get started, I’d just like to announce that on Wednesday I’ll be publishing the long-awaited interview with Jos Buivenga, the man behind type foundry exljbris. Thanks to everyone for their questions for Jos submissions. Is it really Sunday again? Well, it had better be, because today we have a jam-packed-to-bursting roundup of type news, free fonts and lots more.
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eXtreme Type Terminology

Part Three: The ‘Black Art’—by Paul Dean

An invisible grid of parallel horizontal lines is used as a constant reference in the creation of a font. It resembles a musical score and its four (or five) horizontal lines represent, from top to bottom, the ascender line (the height of the highest ascender), which is sometimes equivalent to and sometimes higher than the ascent or capline (the height of the capital letters). Next comes the meanline or waist line (the height of a lowercase x), which can be referred to as a high waist line or a low waist line; the baseline (on which the letters appear to rest); and finally, at the very bottom, the descent, descender or beard line (the level to which the lowest descenders descend).

5 lines of type

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Sunday type: dotsquared type

Don’t forget your Underware

First, a big thank you to all who read and commented on On Choosing Type. I’m in search of contributing authors who can write case studies on type choice for, say, a redesign. For example, Creative Review magazine recently redesigned and chose to use Farnham throughout; an article on why a certain type was chosen and how it compliments other elements—that’s the kind of thing I’m after. If you’re interested, then simply send me mail.

Let’s begin our Sunday Type with Smoothing Out the Creases with Web Fonts, from Jon Tan. I mentioned the importance of checking your type across different systems, and Jon’s article considers the rendering of fonts in OSX and Windows. Great article.

Smoothing Out the Creases with Web Font

Free Fonts

A great little—with emphasis on the little—font from those talented people at Underware. A number of people have emailed to ask which typeface I use to set the the captions for illustrations. In fact, I stole the idea from Kris Sowersby after he used it for his article Newzald: From Moleskine to Market. It’s only designed to be used at one size, 8pt; but I guess there’s nothing stopping you using it at larger sizes too—might be fun.

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