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The Latest Trends in Typography

April 26, 2012 IADT Nashville, Graphic Design, IADT General 0 Comments

Typography TrendsTypography on the Web has always been limited, at times neglected, and often scowled at by designers wanting to implement their typographic masterpieces. These beautiful designs are often created in Photoshop, and the harsh realities of how websites are made squash the ambitions of the otherwise hopeful designer. However, the latest trends in typography allow creative designers’ work to be replicated effectively, especially when they more fully understand the Web design limitations they are operating under.

Three solid tools for rendering fonts for the Web are sIFR (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement), Cufón, and Typekit. The first two are free and the last is commercial. Once set up, these methods render text in the desired typeface dynamically, making it a hands-off process once they are installed.

Typekit was clearly created with designers in mind. It enables them to control which fonts are applied to elements in a Web page directly in the Typekit. As far as usage, it is simple. Designers do not have to touch the Web page’s code at all, except initially to insert two JavaScript tags.

In both IFR and sIFR, Flash and JavaScript replace short passages of HTML text with Flash movies of the same text set in a real font. sIFR brings rich, accessible typography to thousands of sites. It is free and has been blessed by accessibility experts Matt May and Joe Clark.

Cufón does not require Flash or any other plug-in; browsers support it natively. It is fast, even when handling large amounts of text. It is also easy to set up and it works in all major browsers. Cufón consists of two parts – a font generator and an engine written in JavaScript. To include a font, you load it via the standard script element. There are licensing concerns with Cufón, as the font’s end-user license agreement (EULA) needs to specifically allow Web embedding. Work is underway to make Cufón text selectable.

Graphic designers can use images, but then the information is locked away from the semantic arrangement of HTML (aside from what may be included in the alt attribute). You can use a Flash-based replacement like sIFR, but growing mobile platforms such as iOS do not support Flash. Other font-embedding means such as Cufón, Typekit and Google Font API look promising. Learn more about graphic design on the web in a graphic design degree program.

This article is presented by IADT-Nashville. Contact us today if you’re interested in developing marketable knowledge and career-relevant skills with an industry-current degree program from IADT-Nashville.

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