Camen Design

BIG on Type

Inspirational post by Keefe about font-size in web design and how we have this strange obsession with micro-sized fonts, when that goes against every good aspect of readable design.

Something that Keefe doesn’t mention is that typography on the web has been heavily influenced by font-smoothing (or the lack thereof) in web browsers. Clear-type works well for small fonts, but becomes a gnarly mess at about 13px and above. Designers are a fussy bunch and years of doing things to please IE has left them with the overpowering habit of wanting everything to line up to exact pixels rather than trust the browser to do the right thing.

Big type on the web won’t take off until font-smoothing is common on Windows. That may not be too far away as Microsoft have promised 2D accelerated, smoothed fonts in IE9, and Mozilla have done the same with Firefox. (RISC OS has only been doing font-smoothing since 1992)

I applaud Keefe for finding the design in his site that allows him to use 16px text elegantly. It’s also a nicely produced HTML5 site. A lot of it is inspired by my own site, but he is the only designer I’ve seen who has been able to successfully disassemble my complex CSS and put it to use elsewhere. I would only say that the date is very sloppy (wrong font, bad spacing) and that he should invest in a strict reading rhythm.