Thursday, March 1, 2007

Typography on the Web

The principles for typography on the printed page are similar to those on the Web. However, there are some key differences. On the Web, the resolution of the typeface is much lower than that of magazines, books, and even newspapers. While the resolution of magazines is 1200 dots per inch (dpi) or higher, the computer screen usually outputs resolution at 85 dpi. Also, there is less space available on the computer screen (before scrolling) than there is on a printed page. One of the biggest differences is the Web’s variability. Each line of text is rendered by the Web browser, Web server, and the operating system of the user. One page could look different to users because of these variables.

Scientists created HTML in order to share particle physics documents with each other (Lynch and Horton). Because of this, graphic design and typography were left out of the equation. “In focusing solely on the structural logic of documents they ignored the need for the visual logic of sophisticated graphic design and typography” (Lynch and Horton). Most Web designers do not even use the standard headline sizes in HTML because they are either too large or too small. The idea behind making different sized headlines was to clearly present the information, but the design suffered because of it. Cascading style sheets (CSS) is one way to bring together information and design. Using style sheets, one can control the style of headers, text, paragraphs, and other page elements. Another benefit of CSS is the ability to control the design of thousands of pages by adjusting the settings on one master style sheet document. Also, CSS provides greater typographic control using less code. If you’re a Web designer who isn’t using CSS, now is a good time to learn. Click here for more information about typography on the web.

No comments: