IXD101 – Web Typography

This week in Monday’s class, we took a look at web typography.

Universal Typography

Tim Brown spoke about Universal Typography. He shared how to practice typography in a way that is equally as universal as the web. He focuses on traditional typographic principles, while also embracing progressive enhancement. He goes on to explain how fonts, CSS, and web devices coexist, and together, will create what it means to successfully set form and routine for typefaces, font sizes and white space.

He took a brief look into the history of type, looking back 500 years ago to written type. He then went on to show how the basic foundations of this type has not changed. The process and appearance may be different, but the format is the same, and the purpose behind it is the same – to appeal to an audience, to make the reader want to read the article. Design is an influence. It is a job. As a designer, you are responsible for what you put out into the world. They make educated decisions about things being one way and not some other way. If you choose to design something a certain way, it matters. Typography is efficient, effective branding, and is the mark of a professional. It can also be used to reinforce authenticity, as almost anyone today can use the web to create typography for their own means.

Web is only going to grow. Context is only going to get more diverse than before. But the web is not a new media, it is the evolution of all media, and to design for it, designers need to use typography in a way that is useful to the user and the experience of the reader.

“The primary design principle underlying the Web’s usefulness and growth is universality.” – Tim Berners-Lee

I found Brown’s talk incredibly insightful and interesting, as he spoke about a variety of different design principles, focused on a web-design aspect and viewpoint. I could tell that he was incredibly experienced by the way he spoke of design and web history, and he knew and was passionate about a lot of the topics he spoke of. I respect the message that typography can be used in all sorts of ways, to promote all kinds of messages. As long as the design behind it is purposeful and made with intent and focus, then the message will come across as meaningful.


Alongside the lesson, we were also introduced to Google Fonts. This website allows you to pick and choose certain fonts, and then it gives you the HTML and CSS codes needed to include these fonts in your webpage or document. What I really like about this website is that it also lets you see popular pairing options for certain fonts, so you can see what goes well with what. I think this will be really useful when it comes to my designs, and will help me choose typefaces that work better together than just randomly choosing from an extensive list, and can help me get used to adding embedded fonts to sites.






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