[thelist] Breaking away from "Standard" Fonts

Felix Miata mrmazda at ij.net
Thu Mar 16 22:34:55 CST 2006

On 06/03/13 23:11 Mark Groen apparently typed:

> On Mon, 2006-03-13 at 21:11 -0500, Felix Miata wrote:

>> .........Helvetica is a 
>> bitmap font on Linux and so is really best avoided entirely, and the 
>> relative giant Verdana has its own problems as a result of its large 
>> size. http://mrmazda.no-ip.com/auth/Font/font-helvetica.html 
>> http://www.xs4all.nl/~sbpoley/webmatters/verdana.html

> The Helvetica ... links look fine and scales well for this Linux
> user, apparently your mileage may vary.

Those using Linux distros released in the past two or so years are 
unlikely to be seeing Helvetica at all, if my rather substantial sample 
from among the most popular Linux distros is any indication: 

> Stephen makes a lot of *very* broad generalizations that have little to
> do with design and more to do with making the web the way he wants to
> see it. IMHO, that's fine for him and if he doesn't want to see what the
> web designer had in mind for a nice looking web page then so be it, his
> loss.

Poley's position is hardly unique. Pick up the thread discussion that 
begins with this: 

>> favorite, and by so doing you also guarantee huge numbers won't see the 
>> physical size of their choice either (regardless if your CSS is 
>> user-default based on nominal size or not). Compare them yourself: 
>> http://mrmazda.no-ip.com/auth/Font/fonts-face-commons.html

> You are assuming that "huge numbers" change the default fonts and sizes
> that come with Windows and Mac, that is not the case afaik.

It actually doesn't matter how many as long as the number is non-zero. 
It's naive to think design is more important than readability to anyone 
other than designers. Most visitors are there for your content, not 
pretty magazine pages to flip through without reading much of anything 
like those glossy wastes of money lining the checkout lines in stores. 
When not actually reading, it takes pretty design or some flashy gimmick 
to keep someone's attention.

When content matters more, it takes lack of discomfort along with 
quality content to maintain interest and attention. Before they ever got 
to your page they presumably made a choice what works best for them, and 
even if they didn't, there's little likelihood designer mousetype can 
make it better for any other than some random portion of the audience, 
while it's guaranteed to be worse for whatever the non-zero, non-trivial 
number that did is.

>> So, usually I set body copy simply to sans-serif, and limit use of 
>> common and uncommon families to font samples, menus, headings and other 
>> peripherals, and recommend others do likewise, or less. 
>> http://mrmazda.no-ip.com/auth/userdefaultbased.html

> I recommend otherwise - that designers use what ever combination of the
> default fonts that come with Mac and Windows they want, and make their
> page look the way they or their client wants it to be.

Your's is a perfectly valid choice for those who agree design is more 
important than usability. After all, it's the designer's page. Why does 
it need to be usable for any but the designer? He already read it on his 
generously sized display, presumably before he wrote his styles, so he 
has no need to actually _read_ it again, right? Then again, maybe for 
the actual content, as opposed to headings, breadcrumbs and navigation, 
it would be better for users to actually be able to read without 
eyestrain or additional effort to undo the beautiful magazine design, 
transforming it into quality reading material.

> For the rest of 'em, they most likely will see what you are seeing and
> it would be a very boring internet, for myself anyways, if all I ever
> saw was my default browser font.

Some people actually buy screen fonts to get just exactly what they want 
instead of the boring and/or arguably ugly Verdana (obese), Helvetica 
(as above), Arial (M$opoly) & Times New Roman (tiny yucky). Some like 
one of the boring ones more than the others. Why should any of them have 
to see your random choice on mountains of body copy? What's unboring 
about your position is that users get a random selection of boring 
and/or ugly, instead of their own choice they might not find ugly or 
boring at all.
"Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according
to the law of the Lord."	        	Psalm 119:11 NIV

  Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409

Felix Miata  ***  http://mrmazda.no-ip.com/auth/auth

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