Typography for the Web

Tenmiles Internal Seminar

Chennai, Oct 2010

The web is at its most powerful when used as a communication medium. Even as it evolves supporting richer formats every day, text remains the most basic and widely used format for expressing ourselves online. Ubiquitous almost. And given this ubiquity, it becomes pretty important for web designers to ensure that the message contained in those letters and words is conveyed as efficiently as possible. In fact, Oliver Reichenstein makes a compelling argument that 95% of web design is typography.

Typography is an important part of written communication, but not its sum total. There are other aspects like engagement and clarity that are just as important. This presentation thus begins by highlighting the process, setting the priorities right. It then goes on to some basic guidelines one can follow to improve the readability of the written word, and ends with a tease into some of the finer aspects of typography. The presentation concludes with two clips from Gary Hustwit’s excellent design trilogy that you can watch on YouTube: Michael Bierut on Helvetica and Deiter Rams on Good Design.

Like any worthy skill, grasping typography requires time and effort. Serious web designers would do well to invest both. This presentation though was made to serve as a starting point / basic introduction to the subject. Hope it helps!