What I Hated the Least Today 209/365: Fonts

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Messy cascading notes
Messy cascading notes

I’ve been working on one web site for a week now and so far it’s not only not finished, but it’s not even getting anywhere near. As the sample of my notes in the snap above indicates, I’m heavily overthinking the thing. It’s a self-hosted WordPress site, which means I’m able to modify the CSS files and the PHP templates (the latter with utmost caution, as usually the formula is: me + PHP = white screen of death).

I spent the whole night just changing font sizes. That’s what the notes above were for – as I only have one screen to work with, I take some of my notes in longhand on a piece of paper to be able to refer to them without switching tabs and splitting screens too much. I hated the result of my night’s work.

However, I figured out what I hated about it the most. It was the Verdana font I picked for headings and navigation links. It gave the site a tabloid look (it’s not intended to be a tabloid). Too big and too bold. I chose the classic Times New Roman for paragraphs, which gave the site a rough draft feel in turn (it’s not intended to be a rough draft either).

So, ultimately, what I hate the least about the whole business is that I now know what the chief source of my disgust with the site is. It’s the fonts. Currently I’m considering the classic sans serif Helvetica for headings and my favourite serif font, Georgia, for paragraphs. I’m writing it down here lest I can’t remember it when I wake up.

Also, as part of my Code a Day project of learning a code a day, I’m now at lessons on text and fonts and it’s all kinds of awesome. Though I can’t imagine who would want to use text shadows – unless as a parody of 1990s sites – and for my purpose, I don’t think I’ll ever want to change the direction of text to make it go from right to left either. Well, good to know I could if I would.

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18 comments on “What I Hated the Least Today 209/365: Fonts”

  1. HTML sucks, PHP is difficult. CSS is easy to work with, kind of. But the REM thing in CSS, I just don’t get. I bet you can enlighten me. I’ve deleted the REM at times, from the style sheet. I am no pro in any way with this stuff.

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    1. I love all coding languages equally 😉 CSS is comparatively easy, and what I love about it is that unlike with PHP, it doesn’t break your site so bad when you mess up. I’m afraid I’m not sure about the REM values either – I’ve noticed the theme I’m modifying states font size in pixels, say, 16px, and then goes on to declare the font size in rem, in this case 1.6rem. I know the R in REM is relative, but I don’t really know how that works. I do what my theme’s original CSS does – I state the value in pixels and then in rem… I’ll let you know when/if I find out an answer.

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    1. The default MS Office font, hm… I use Times New Roman for Word documents simply because that’s the standard font in the writing/proofreading business. I know exactly how any character in this font should look like, which makes proofreading easier.

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  2. ANOTHER leap in learning! Verdana is tabloid? I use that one, I think. someone recommended it as a good one for blogging. Mind you, my main focus now is to ensure my readers can read and focus on what I write. Being of that delicate age where I need bigger font size and easier style, I have opted for the simple but bold look. At least I can read. And no-one has complained and I am still getting new followers, so I figure it must be ok !

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    1. Oh no, don’t worry, Verdana surely isn’t a tabloid font as such, it’s just the way I used it was rather unfortunate and didn’t look the way I needed. And you’re absolutely correct about focusing on easy legibility. That’s the way to go!

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  3. Georgia is trustworthy … always good for paragraph.

    There are a few WP-themes that make use of text-shadow. It’s not really visible until you try and change the background colour of the module. Can’t remember which ones right now.

    I’m reading posts ‘backwards’ now, so I’ve already read your post about Google Fonts 🙂

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    1. Now that you mention it, I think I do recall some sensible use of text shadow too. I still don’t like it too much, I prefer clean and clear edges. After I wrote this post, I noticed shadows are used lot for buttons, input fields (like a search form) and such. So I guess they do have their use.

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