[thelist] Breaking away from "Standard" Fonts

Max Schwanekamp lists at neptunewebworks.com
Fri Mar 10 11:24:36 CST 2006

Christian Heilmann wrote:
>>Not at all what I meant. Sure, I might like a book where I could choose
>>the font, but if I'm the *author* of the book, and I choose the font for
>>the cover and spine, I feel it diminishes the artistic integrity of my
>>book if you can set it to Arial Bold. As for the font I chose for the
>>inside, maybe; maybe not. Sometimes it's an artistic choice; sometimes,
>>it's a practical choice. Both are valid, if used responsibly.

I'm with Joel here.  If the site author feels it important to make a 
certain typeface choice, then that's their perogative.  Take it or leave 
it.  The author could also leave the font alone, and leave it to the 
user.  I like it when I come to a book or a website and it's tasefully 
enhanced with a good font choice.  Tech books are not a good comparison 
as they're by necessity designed and produced cheaply, except maybe New 
Riders' better offerings.  This seems no different than saying that 
images should not be used.  Sure they can be abused, but used properly 
they enhance the medium.  Don't like 'em, either go elsewhere or disable 

>>As for the 450K font download - that's exactly the opposite of what I
>>was saying. I want to embed a font, and *not* break usability or
>>efficiency in any way. 
> I don't get that... If you embed a font, the browser has to load the
> font. If the TTF is 10k, fine, if it is 450k, not that fine. 

This is much the same as the images argument in the days of yore.  I 
hate those stupid sites that use a 2mb image straight from a digital 
camera (and then use html attribs to set it at 200px x 300px), and once 
I've been forced to sit through that stupidity I vow not to go back to 
that site, or disable images entirely if I really must come back to it.

If embedded fonts were to become a reality, you can be sure that 
browsers (good ones anyway) would allow the user to disable downloading 
embedded fonts.  Authors (good ones anyway) would have a fallback 
strategy in that event.  In the end, the market should decide - if a 
site used a 450k embedded font, causing untold user woe, that site would 
likely lose business to a competitor who uses a 25k gzipped embedded 
font that loads in a blink.  Just like the corporate sites that make the 
whole homepage a gridwork of table-based images loses out to the 
lightweight, accessible sites we're all making today (right!?!).

>>I wasn't advocating the egregious misuse of these technologies we often
>>see today, 
> Your answer is called SVG or HTML5 Canvas. Or, hey, Flash! You can
> have your texts in XML and create both HTML and Flash or SVG from the
> same document.

Christian are you saying that in order to have control over typestyle, 
an author should put their entire site in Flash?  I know Flash has come 
a long way toward accessibility, but I'd be surprised that such an 
accessibility advocate would say that.  Or, was it intended sardonically? :)

Max Schwanekamp

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