Typography on the web with Sam Berlow

There is a huge gap among brand design from print to web. Sam Berlow joins us from Font Bureau to talk about the new web, how typography, our designs and our brands will live in it.

The new web looks beyond the desktop and includes phones, pads, appliances, kitchen displays needs a consistent brand. All of these appliances and devices need fonts. Live fonts let us take our type anywhere, any time. This makes our text searchable, easily editable and shortens the links between designers and code.

Each browser has different formats for fonts. For us, “it’s a nightmare.” We still don’t have a way to render all of our type to look the same across browsers. Fonts also look incredibly different on Windows and Mac. Berlow reminds us to look at our designs on mac, windows and multiple devices.

When we look beyond system fonts, we need to find a way to get other typefaces on peoples’ computers. We can send the fonts from the cloud to the user which keeps them protected, formated and updated. The hosting service can make changes to typefaces, like kerning, straight to your user. Large companies can host the typefaces themselves which gives the companies more control but at a greater expense.

Fonts can be redrawn or hinted to look better on the web.When there is more flexibility with fonts, designers can actually design on the web. Berlow advises us to convert to web fonts, rethink the design, rethink again. He reference Jason Fried’s book Rework. He says we should get our work up there.

Berlow’s prediction

“In less than a year, the standard for deliver of publications will be HTML/webfonts not pdf or Apps. HTML is the most flexible and inexpensive way to deliver information in a branded, modular, well designed format.”

Roger Black also chimed in to discuss audiences. “Web fonts help catch up the plain web. It goes everywhere, to 5 Million people worldwide” instead of just iPad and iPhone users.


About Nina Mehta

Interaction, Experience and News designer. Human-Computer Interaction design Master's student at Indiana University in the School of Informatics.

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