Typography IS the Web – Mark Boulton (#FOWD)

Typography’s not on the web, it IS the web – Mark Boulton @ #FOWD

Today I’m going to talk about a passion of mine – Typography!
What does typography mean to you?

What do you mean I can only use seven fonts?

Breaks down into four things on the web.

  • Type as language – Typography has one plain duty before it and that is to convey information in writing – emil ruder
  • Type is Information – designer’s task is to bridge the gap between the author’s conceptual structure and the readers conceptual structure
  • Type as Structure – Typography is currently treated as adornment, but it actually goes much deeper into the structure and is related to UX and IA design.
  • Type as Data – 

There’s a bit missing…..

Everybody is a designer at the moment – see Design it Yourself – “wtf have they done to my layout?”

A lot of people screw it up! Comic sans is not inherently bad – it depends on context – they have the tools but not the experience\information.

Comic sans – 9 times out of 10 is the wrong tool.

Lot of talk about font embedding – not a good idea – yet – technical stuff aside  – Lot’s of fonts aren’t designed for the web – see Times New Roman.

Lot’s of designers go through life not being arsed about how fonts look on the screen as they will look different when printed – the font Georgia was designed the other way around.


Mark is working on fixing Drupal for designers – 6 out of 7 Drupal sites will be ugly.

Drupal makes it hard for people to make good design decisions – current tools make it difficult to produce good designs.

Too much choice is not good – we need to scaffold the experience – we need to help users make good design choices. Don’t currently know how this would work.

The typographic cascade _

  • Choose a headline typeface: Georgia or Helvetica
  • Then cascade that font choice down the rest of the document e.g. body, lists, etc.

@font-face – let’s have a think before we open the flood gates.

Thank You.

Q & A.

Web Safe – just means that it’s installed on everyone’s machines – Verdana, Tahoma, etc. were designed for the web. Also the Microsoft “C” fonts.

Sifr is a pain in the arse – technically. The constraints on the web help us push the boundaries of type on the web.

Align best choices with customers needs. Type choice comes after hierarchical design.

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