Why is Typophile still using the basic "Font-Family" CSS rule these days?

CDesign's picture

Hello everyone, Just joined this wonderful site because I really am becoming a Typophile...
Literally spent mostly every waking moment this weekend downloading, buying, trying, discovering, making, testing, and learning about font. I am starting to dream in type! Gotta space out my passions.. Losing time for Graphic Design, and Web Design..

But anyway, I am curious. Is it just me? or does Typophile only use Helvetica as its Typeface?

I know Helvetica is an amazing font, and perfect for easy reading and easy on the eyes, but you would think there would be more implementation of other typefaces in a sleek show of how typography can make any design amazing.

eh, I guess thats enough of my discussion for now. I could go on about much more, but its totally unrelated to the topic at hand, so I will save those thoughts for another time.

Take care everyone. Glad I could have become part of this wonderful site.

riccard0's picture

Check your browser settings.

CDesign's picture

Well i did of coarse. Its set to let websites render their own fonts, and not use system defaults. Plus I am on my Fedora Linux Computer right now, so I dont even have Helvetica installed on this system.

I was asking others if Helvetica is the font that is used on 99% of this site? or if Its just my browser set up that only sees helvetica.

So do you see other fonts on this site other than helvetica? besides the images, and logos of coarse.

riccard0's picture

As the image I attached shows, it’s almost entirely Georgia (with some minor detail in Lucida Grande and Helvetica).
But, since the CSS declaration is somewhat schizophrenic (“Georgia, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;”), if someone doesn’t have Georgia on its system, they will see a sans serif instead.

CDesign's picture

aha, okay. I gotcha now. didnt even realize that image you uploaded. Just thought it was some random output of my first post, as if that is how this forum works.. lol. First post, so I just assumed.

I definitely appreciate the Helvetica WAY more than the Georgia though.. Thats cool though.

But even then, that still follows my main point.. How come the biggest Typographic Forum on the Net is using such basic font styles?
Could always use @font-face, and make it beautiful. It works in all modern browsers if using the multiple font formats, and soon .woff will be the standard format for all browsers in not too long.
but there is always Cufon, Google Web Fonts, sRIF, tons of Image embedding, tons of other Jquery/JS libraries and tools for embedding actual fonts no matter what is on the default system. AND even better yet, all the AWESOME typography Jquery/JS framework/CSS3 effects, to optimize even more on already awesome embedded fonts. Like iKern.js, Lettering.js, kerning.js, fittext.js, fontdetect.js, slabtext.js, typeface.js, textualizer.js, and on and on and on! ;)

I was just curious if there was a reason for Typophile to be using the old skool basic CSS1/2 font-family rule, and nothing more.

Maybe because Typophile doesnt want to "pick favorites" with designers? or maybe simply for simple rendering to focus on content more than image, as image being over-rated? or something along those lines.. ?

Just wanted feedback on peoples thoughts here. Anyone else think they should customize and beautify? or do you guys think it should stay the same?

Dont get me wrong, lol, I am in NO way trying to suggest this idea or anything, its just something that sprung up in my mind as soon as I joined. Ive been checking out other sites fonts all day, so as soon as I saw typophile is still system default style, I was curious as to why?
But like I said I am definitely not trying to suggest this idea, not like I just joined and trying to get this forum to change because I suggested it... ha, trust me I dont mean it that way.. So dont get me wrong fellas.

Share your thoughts folks.

PS: gonna change my thread title from "Is Typophile only using Helvetica" to "Why is Typophile still using the basic Font-Family CSS rule" (unless I can think of better I guess..)

Peace and Love

Frode Bo Helland's picture

How come the biggest Typographic Forum on the Net is using such basic font styles?

A rats nest, but the (sad) truth is web fonts are here because of popular demand from customers. Sad, because we are proud of the high standards of our print/desktop fonts and couldn’t care less about the standard of our web fonts. Same thing happened with desktop publishing: type went digital by the path of least resistance. It’s not a conspiracy, but I’ll glady applaud those who dare to go the extra mile.

For now, text all user are supposed to read, even if they use older Windows machines, needs more attention than the type industry cares (or affords) to give it. Georgia is still miles ahead.

Té Rowan's picture

Fedora? Then this may be a relatively easy way to get ðe aulde core fontes onto the box: http://corefonts.sourceforge.net/

ahyangyi's picture

Actually, Typophile used to feature a @font-face for the heading. And it changes from time to time. I think they were called "featured" fonts?

riccard0's picture

How come the biggest Typographic Forum on the Net is using such basic font styles?

What Frode said.
A better question would be: “why Typophile can’t care enough to have at least some decent CSS typography rules?”

Typophile used to feature a @font-face for the heading.

Not exactly. It was a buggy Flash-based solution.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Some of the stuff discussed on Typophile involves specialities not supported by a standard Latin 1 font, so that is perhaps also part of the consideration — that, and loading times.

In any case, a “featured text face” would be A W E S O M E. On the web, it’s easy enough to specify a fallback font to take care of non-supported languages etc.

riccard0's picture

a “featured text face” would be A W E S O M E.

I wholeheartedly agree.

On the web, it’s easy enough to specify a fallback font

Like "Helvetica, sans-serif" as fallback for Georgia? ;-)

hrant's picture

Welcome.

Just gotta say this though, for the record: I myself have little respect for Helvetica, and many others (like Erik Spiekermann) don't exactly love it either. In contrast, Georgia rules.

hhp

CDesign's picture

@Té Rowan
cool, Thanks for showing me that. That's a pretty cool way. Maybe there is something there that I dont already have in my collection.
But what I did that was even easier for me personally, I Triple Boot Windows 7, Fedora 16, and my pride and Joy, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. For various reasons of coarse. Now I have a 32bg USB flash drive that basically holds ALL my work, my designs, my Photoshop files, FontLab files, Fonts, Web Designs, templates, Javascript frameworks, stock images, vectors, brushes, etc. Literally everything I could need in the designing world. And I always am expanding it daily.
So I just went into my Windows Directory from Linux, and went to the font folder and copied all the font files onto my USB drive. Giving me the ability to install any of my windows 7 fonts on any of my linux boxes, at will. That being said, I only really installed a couple. because personally I like Linux's fonts much better. The anti-aliasing is so much better, a really nice selection of Sans, slabs, and surprisingly for my taste, a couple serifs.
I didn't install all of them, because I really dont need them all. my Windows partition is 350gb, my Fedora partition is a mere 10gb. And I do EVERYTHING on fedora, so I can get away with that small space. So I just prefer not to clog it all up with semi-decent win fonts.

Plus I am a big open source contributor, supporter, and believer. So I really like open fonts, mainly SIL's Open Font Licensing. Like FontSquirrel.com for example. Wonderful collection of all FREE for Commercial use fonts.

@frode frank, & hrant
Yeah Georgia is pretty nice, but Idk, I think Helvetica has to be one of the nicest Serifs for body text. Georgia seems idk... so... playful? Un-serious? something along those lines? Like something that would be used for "guitar-tabs" if it was monospaced.
While Helvetica, seems so smooth, to the point, and down to business.

But Frode frank,
What makes you say that Typographic designers are proud of only Print/Desktop fonts, and could care less about web font standards?
There are TONS of Type Foundries, and Designers that are all about web fonts.
Plus its a rising field, in the industry, so eventually its going to be pretty standard right along side Print and Desktop standards. Try to think 5-10 years ahead. Even Now 60%+ are on the internet these days, with the website domains growing in Epic proportions in a mere 25+ years.
I really think web-fonts are going to be a big industry in the type design field. Its nearly fully implemented as W3C Web Standards, with a whole new font format "Web Open Font Format (.woff)" being born from it. Finally web designers can finally show a creative typographic side instead of being stuck with a mere 12-15 basic fonts to choose from. Now the possibilities will be endless. And who knows, maybe a whole new style of type will spawn from it.

I dont know, maybe when its fully implemented using .woff, we will see Typophile's true siding on using web fonts.

OH I guess what may add to my liking of Helvetica, may be because of the SUPERIOR font smoothing I get on Linux. The smoothing is SOOO Nice..
I literally cant stand being on my windows system for the harshness of the font alone... Not to mention Internet Explorer! Even worse!!! Literally no font smoothing occures in it at all.. Its a bit pathetic on microsofts part. Apple, and Linux are beyond belief with their font-smoothing/anti-aliasing, and microsoft even with their "cleartype option" is nearly useless.
So I guess that my atributte to my liking for Helvetica.
Since I checked out Erik Spiekers blog seeing the first post saying "Why Helvetica Sucks!!" and seeing his image of Helvetica rendered at small sizes, and yeah it looks pretty bad, but on linux right now, its being rendered at the same pixel size as his image, and it looks fantastic. so it must be because of the font smoothing of linux in general.. So yeah if I was on windows or reading this in print, I guess I would also side with Georgia..

hrant's picture

There's certainly been an increase in quality among free/open fonts, but the best ones are still not free - not even cheap; so you could sometimes get decent results with free fonts, but you can almost never get great results without spending the necessary money. BTW your darling Helvetica (which to me only looks acceptable when set very large in the lightest weights) is certainly not free. Also, you should know better than to evaluate an outline font mostly by its rendering at small sizes onscreen.

hhp

Frode Bo Helland's picture

What makes you say that Typographic designers are proud of only Print/Desktop fonts, and could care less about web font standards?

Almost no-one are designing for the medium. And by that I don’t mean hinting exclusively. (Remember neither Linux nor Mac OSX use font hints to render type.) Most just auto-convert their print stuff, waiting for hi-res displays. I too believe web fonts is going to be big — in fact I think it already is.

Yeah Georgia is pretty nice, but Idk, I think Helvetica has to be one of the nicest Serifs for body text. Georgia seems idk... so... playful? Un-serious? something along those lines? Like something that would be used for "guitar-tabs" if it was monospaced.
While Helvetica, seems so smooth, to the point, and down to business.

One can’t argue with personal taste :) Just make sure you steer by more than just taste if you want to be a graphic designer.

HVB's picture

"I like Linux's fonts much better. The anti-aliasing is so much better, a really nice selection of Sans, slabs, and surprisingly for my taste, a couple serifs."

Font rendering, including anti-aliasing, has nothing to do with the fonts themselves, but is strictly a function of the operating environment: Operating system, font rendering agent, printer drivers, and monitor. I was also under the impression that there is nothing unique about fonts that can be used in Linux - don't they use the same Truetype fonts available for Windows or MacOSX and conversely, can't any font used in Linux be used in Windows?

ahyangyi's picture

@ frode frank

Remember neither Linux nor Mac OSX use font hints to render type.

From wikipedia:

The open-source FreeType 2 font rendering engine uses an auto-hinter when such hinting data is not present or its use is restricted by a software patent.[2] As of 2011, the FreeType website states that the relevant font hinting patents have now all expired, and TrueType is now enabled in FreeType by default.[2]

So it seems that FreeType under Linux supports TrueType hinting. Most Linux distributions, however, ships with OpenType(CFF) fonts, and enable autohint by default.

It is also worth noting that the Ubuntu font family, the branding font of Ubuntu Linux, is a TTF font, and is hinted manually.

CDesign's picture

@ HVB

Of coarse, but even the windows fonts I install on Linux just dont cut it compared to most of the fonts that ship with Linux. But I mean yeah, it goes the same way, The fonts featured in Linux dont look the greatest when rendered on Windows either.

Idk, its just like the Typefaces, that were picked out for linux were choosen because they play well with the anti-aliasing.

I understand its not the fonts that win/linux use, themselves. I guess I should of explained that differently? Idk its a bit hard to explain it even now.. You would have to see for yourself. Using my win fonts on Fedora, still look a little sharp and jagged here and there.

Maybe I should of just said "I like how Linux renders the fonts way better, than I can handle the harsh rendering of windows".

& @ hrant,
Your misunderstanding what I mean, I am not a fan of Helvetica or anything.. I just think it renders better on my screen than georgia. In fact I would probably never choose helvetica for a design myself. I was just stating I am happy I got Helvetica by default instead of Georgia.

Its kind of a curious thing though, Considering Helvetica isnt free, I wonder why it is shipped with Fedora, a free and open distribution. It wouldn't surprise me though, considering its a Red Hat Project, they are top of the paid linux industry, so I dont see why they wouldn't through a 29$ font in, I guess.. ? Just strange its kind of against the whole "Open/Free" Aspect.

Oh and I am on my Windows 7 box now. And Georgia is being rendered now. And now Georgia looks gorgeous, and more professional, than helvetica...
So that goes with what I was saying about it earlier... The same exact fonts look completely different on different operating systems. And even the first image that Riccard0 uploaded in the beginning of this thread shows Georgia looking like a completely different font than I am looking at right now..
Georgia in the image looks very dark black, larger as well, and the serifs are way more defined than what I am looking at right now. My side looks a slight grey, with soft edges, and much less defined serifs..
So Desktop/Web Fonts are a whole other world than print, there are too many variables that effect its rendering i guess..?

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Thanks for the correction, Yi Yang. Is that a direct quote from Wikipedia? I couldn’t find it.

ahyangyi's picture

@frode frank

Yes, it's from this article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Font_hinting

mikemai2awesome's picture

I think fancy display fonts could be considered for the headings, there are many alternatives to using @font-face such as Fonts.com Webfonts, Typekit, and Google Webfonts. The downside of using @font-face is that you are exposing the source font files in the CSS, you might be unintentionally breaking the font licensing agreements. So it's much more safe and hassle-free to use a hosted service for custom fonts.

Back to the topic of "should Typophile use fancier custom fonts?", for the purpose of the forum, I don't see the necessity of doing so. Keep in mind, any fonts you use other than the basic web safe fonts are gonna require more scripts running which directly affects the performance of the site. I understand this is a typography site but it is also a forum, not a showcase. While it would be nice to use custom fonts but I don't see it being necessary.

Té Rowan's picture

My own Linux box runs Linux From Scratch 5.1.1 with additions from Beyond LFS 5.1 and later Scratch versions. Probably why I've got into the habit of looking for sourceballs rather than RPMs or debbies.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I'm not talking about fancier custom fonts.

CDesign's picture

This is a unique thread. Were burning through 4-5 different topics. Its just branching and branching. ;D

@mikemai2awesome
Thanks man. Good point! Exactly the type of answers I was looking for.
As for the @font-face exposing problem. There are ways to prevent this. You can make the file only accessible when rendered server-side. You can always prevent downloading of any file. And you could always edit your .htaccess file and prevent that file from ever being used except for its exact purpose. Say someone put the font name after the address, for example: "typophile.com/kabel.ttf " "typophile.com/kabel.woff" etc. You could have your .htaccess file automatically redirect that person to a 404 or 501 error page.
Also another way I have seen people prevent downloading their paid font files is by naming it a random hash that is too long for a browser URL search. Using random numbers, letters, etc. Ive seen sites name their font using over 200 characters (may be overkill of coarse) and if you try to tack that name on the end of the site address URL, you will get an error saying that the URL string is too long.
And their is always server-side encrypted gzip-ing. among other things of coarse. I am sure their are many. Those are just the simple ones I know of.

BUT, just like Frank mentioned, "not talking about fancier fonts".
I know I did kind of word it that way latter in the thread, that using CSS techniques you could "spice" this place up a bit. I was just curious as to why the site is using such basic old school standards, these days.

And yeah that makes sense, like you said, It isnt a showcase, its a forum. and yeah thats true, that fits with what I said earlier, about "content being more important than image".

So good point sir.

By the way, a bit off topic, but almost everything is in this thread.
Can anyone tell that my profile picture is a Vector image made in illustrator? or does it just look like a picture that was distorted by scaling? I guess I should change it, cuz it looks kind of funny. It would be cooler if the profile images were near 150x150 or something. Sorry for the OTD, it was bugging me.

hrant's picture

No, this was a unique thread:
http://www.www.typophile.com/node/32680

hhp

hrant's picture

Plus I am a big open source contributor, supporter, and believer. So I really like open fonts, mainly SIL's Open Font Licensing. Like FontSquirrel.com for example. Wonderful collection of all FREE for Commercial use fonts.

http://typophile.com/node/93662#comment-512255

hhp

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