November 12th, 2009 | Published in general
This poor ol’ blog hasn’t had much love lately, and that’s been gettin’ me down. And makin’ me drop g’s when i write.
My friend Tony has been talking up the Blueprint CSS framework for a while, but i haven’t had any time to give it a try. Then earlier this week, a very interesting new web font service called Typekit went public, and i decided to take a night off to play with the website again. After months of very slow progress on an ecommerce site, it was fun to get back into the comparatively clean and simple world of WordPress for a while.
The new site design is a fairly minor tweak of the Blueprint WP Theme though i may futz with it some more as i get used to the new look. The Blueprint CSS system is nice to work with because there are clearly laid out files controlling different parts of the page; layout, typography and grid, but the real magic is in the reset system. Blueprint does a really nice job of standardizing the display across browsers, greatly reducing the headaches involved in cross-platform CSS work. Bravo.
Compatibility aside though, i couldn’t help doing a little Safari-only text shadow for the title font. Oh, and the fonts! Are you seeing this in a nice/different font? You should be. Typekit is a service that allows you to use a wide range of different typefaces on a web page. You create an account with them (the free account gives 2 fonts and a reasonable bandwidth limit), and add 2 lines of code to the page headers. From there it’s just a matter of mapping the fonts to the selectors you want, and you can use a whole new set of fonts on the web page. The page is still text, and loads faster than if it the same thing were done with images, and remains searchable and accessible and all that good stuff.
In my 1/2 day of playing with Typekit, it works great. There are some fonts from local font guy Chank! and lots of good display type options, especially with the paid accounts. The type houses represented are small, and it’ll be interesting to see how the bigger companies respond. It would be great to have these sort of 3rd party services rather than a different sort of font service from every single company, as these things usually seem to sort out. The other question is whether designers get on board. Is this sort of design flexibility worth money to designers and their clients? I wonder how many designers will start using the tool and not even let the client know what’s behind the scenes. Given the volatility of web startups, i bet it’ll be a year or so before there’s widespread adoption, until the company seems to be good for the long haul. It would be bad all around if websites around the world suddenly lost their luster just because the font server crashed, with the rending of garments and biting of pillows and whatnot.