Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The joy of fonts

Amongst the many woes of the professional web developer has been the difficulty of explaining to clients, particularly those who have experience of preparing work for print, that a) web pages are not all the same size, b) web browsers sometimes do things differently and c) you can't use that nice Papyrus font that you've got on your computer (except in images)

The first two are still an issue, and in fact have got messier thanks to the rapid rise of mobile internet and the viewing of websites on some very 'odd' devices.

The third has got a lot better since Google released their webfonts. For those who don't know about them, the google webfonts are a very large collection of fonts that can be safely used on web pages (with a bit of extra coding - which Google provide). The code and fonts work on all modern browsers. No more are we stuck with the same old half-dozen slightly boring (if very readable) fonts.

To be fair, a lot of the available fonts are a bit iffy, but there are a nice selection that can be used for body text as well as wierd headings.

Our first attempt at using them was for a new site for Robin Huw Bowen, the world's leading player of the Welsh Triple Harp. Here we wanted something a bit more 'relaxed' for the menu text, and settled on the delightfully named 'Swanky and Moo Moo'

We also developed some interesting code for use in our Content Management System for when someone really, really needs a specific font. The code allows users to enter headings into the CMS as normal text but the system then generates an image of the text in the fancy font on the fly, and inserts it into the page (with appropriate alt text etc.) Quite handy.

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