Typeface is to text what voice is to speech

in Brand Design
by Phill

The typefaces we choose will have a dramatic impact on the tone and emotion of the messages we present.

As designers we have worked online with a choice of five fonts, of which we have mainly used Arial or Verdana unless we can sneak the corporate typeface into a fixed graphic. The history of Web design has been full of inspiration and innovation, but little of that has been around typography, in large part due to the lack of font choices available. Typography is about far more than just the font, but when you only have five fonts to choose from for most of your work, imagine a culinary world where you could only choose from five ingredients. After a while everything would probably look and taste the same and you would crave some variety.

Last year, 2011, was the year that Web typography finally came of age as Web fonts have grown in popularity. Web designers are finally coming out of the type coma (no pun intended) of the last 15 years and using a variety of typefaces in their compositions. With the wide adoption of the @font-face CSS rule and the rise of Web font service bureaus, there are more than 50,000 fonts available at our disposal that will work on virtually all Web browsers – yes, even the Internet Explorer® platform. IE has supported Web fonts since version 4.

Only time will tell if the explosion in online fonts will be harnessed and not abused, but at least the era of monotone typographic voices are finally at an end.