Strategies to design type primarily for the screen

thierry blancpain's picture

With webfonts becoming an ever bigger topic (and market), I have been thinking a bit about strategies for designing for the screen from the ground up lately.

Aside from obviously different testing procedures throughout the design process, one design strategy I've remembered* seems very interesting.

The process starts with very rough pixel bitmap designs (7x7 or similar). This grid is refined twice or three times, and only after this stage, a vector version is designed. This allows for a typeface – in its core – to be based on the coarse screen grid. But then again, this might also lead to very boring, repetitive design patterns.

What are your experiences, best practices, interesting strategies to design typefaces worthy of being called webfonts? Is there good research out there on this, even thesis papers? I am mainly interested in body copy type design that works across various sizes, not bitmap typefaces of display screen typefaces.

*I've first read about this in "ECAL: Typography (We make fonts)" (2006), where someone used this process for a type design workshop with ECAL (University of art and design Lausanne, Switzerland) students.

thierry blancpain's picture

Sorry if this is a duplicate of a good discussion about this topic. I've tried searching through Typophile, but couldn't find a thread specifically about this. I haven't been active on Typophile recently, so I may have easily missed it. Please let me know if I missed an important discussion about this, I'll gladly read that and add to the discussion there if I have anything to add.

ebensorkin's picture

There are no reasons to make web fonts that fit the pixel grid perfectly. But to make things that are aware of the pixel grid makes a great deal of sense. This does not need to result in boring or repetitive fonts. Take a very close look at what FF and Font Bureau have done recently. Compare this to verdana and Georgia and the C* fonts like Cambria and Corbel.

Syndicate content Syndicate content