March 23, 2005 at 12:13 PM
Cameron Moll has published a great post entitled The non-typographer's guide to practical typeface selection. This is a great place to start when selecting a typface for a new design. There are some very handy tips here from the master himself. Meanwhile Microsoft has announced that it will ship with its OS with six brand new typefaces created especially for extended on-screen reading. I checked out the six typefaces and, well, I am not excited, are you not excited? For very step forward I feel like sometimes we are taking 20 steps back.
Why are you not excited?
Because to me, they are all sort of similar to what we already have access to. They are all pretty much bastardizations of existing OS typefaces. Maybe a little bit better looking than any of the existing typefaces, but still pretty weak. I would love to see OS manufactures actually tap some better resources when designing new typefaces for the screen.
They may be similar because they are faces for on screen text (like longer passages). They are no more bastardizations than Arial. Actually, in the case of Arial, they would be less of a bastardization. No offense man, but they did tap pro-level talent. Typographers like Lucas de Groot and Jeremy Tankard aren't anything to shake a stick at. As much as I dislike MS and what this might do to screen font usage, the fonts by themselves are actually nice, and I think, a good step up from what we have now. Fonts like Constantia and Calibri are refreshing additions in my opinion. Especially when you consider they may (hopefully) have a standard complete character set and full outline packages for alternate uses like small caps.
I guess what I am saying is, ya, sure they are body text typefaces, but show me more headline typefaces we can use cross-platform (i.e. default install on all OSs). I did revise my post about who they taped, but I guess I am just not happy with the results. I really don't feel these fonts are all that much better than what we have been using.. yes, they are better, but not by much.
..side note, small caps would be nice, but CSS already does this for us :)
I hear what you are saying, but with Verdana and Georgia being stripped away soon, we barely have normal text fonts that we can consider cross platform, let alone sexy headline fonts. Yes, CSS will let us specify small caps, but not all fonts actually include legitimate small caps outlines.
Jason: Good clearification there. I see where you are going with this. I didn't realize Verdana and Georgia were being phased out (I don't pay close enough attention to the typography circles to keep up with it all). That said, I can see why there is a need all of the sudden. Though, I still long for beautiful headline typefaces without the need of an image or FIR, etc. Those techniques work today, but are not really optimal long-term in my opinion (think device interoperability).
I agree whole-heartedly.
I think any new font is welcome. It is better when you have a number of fonts to choose from. What we have now for body text? Verdana, Arial, Georgia and Book Antiqua (Trebuchet on certain platforms doesn't show some specific Lithuanian characters).