The types they are a-changin’

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For many years, we were stuck. Stuck with the same default fonts that were deemed “safe” to use when building a website. A small stable of reliable standbys gave us what we needed to survive: Arial, Times, Georgia and Verdana (designed specifically for your computer screen by famed type designer Matthew Carter), Tahoma, and Courier, among others. Clients often have a favorite font or two and will ask to use them as part of a new site or a redesign, only to have one of us tell them it can’t be done.

A better way

While print designers have drawn from a deep well of typographic options for decades, web designers have only recently been handed the bucket. Thanks in part to a sea change in web design that also includes HTML 5 and responsive layouts, beautifully rich typography is now a reality. Sure, we have cúfon, sIFR, and bitmap images, but they’ve always seemed like temporary solutions – mere stop-gaps in the road to a better experience on the web. Now services such as Typekit, Google Web Fonts, Webtype, and FontDeck are bringing their own vast libraries to the forefront, and it’s for the better – especially  for clients.

Now all of this doesn’t make our job easy, per se. Well, maybe a little easier. Getting these fonts to your screen is remarkably less involved than in years past, with a much larger selection. And since these fonts can be indexed by search engines and read by screen readers – unlike bitmap images of fonts – your business benefits because your website is more flexible.

Starting fresh

But typography is more than just picking a few cool looking fonts. We still have plenty of decisions facing us when making your site as functional and beautiful as possible. The typography on your site should be an extension of your brand and reflect how you want your site’s users see your business. Modern or traditional, quirky or understated – the fonts we select should be as much of the design process as anything else. So when building a new site or redesigning a current one, we have better tools to help clients get the website they deserve.

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