Trying Typekit

January 27, 2010

Intruder Alert! That’s the name of the font currently gracing the title (Changing Way) at the top of this blog.

I chose that particular font to check whether I could get Typekit working here at WordPress.com. It’s hardly a subtle change from Tahoma, the main heading font for this blog, and it looks nothing like Georgia, the workhouse here. For this testing, I wanted an intrusive font, and was amused when I found one appropriate in name as well as in appearance.

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried Typekit, or posted about it. In my earlier post, I recommended that Typekit be available at WordPress.com, and linked it to the CSS upgrade.

Typekit has since arrived at WordPress.com, but doesn’t require the CSS upgrade. Well, in a way it does. Consider the following barriers to changing the CSS on a WordPress.com blog: (1) it costs money; (2) it requires knowledge of CSS; (3) it requires knowledge of the way CSS is used in the blog’s particular theme.

I find the third and last of these barriers to be the highest. What heading level does a WordPress theme use for the blog title? for the tagline? for the post title? for headings in the sidebar? And what other selectors (besides h1, h2, etc.) are used, and how are they used? The answer varies between themes.

The theme I’m currently using, Simpla, uses h1 for the blog title. So to test Typekit, I used its kit editor to associate h1 with the distinctive Intruder Alert. That font was for some reason applied to the blog’s tagline (rather than to its title).

I emailed Typekit support over the weekend, and today received a response. I needed to use the selector #header h1. At a more general level, I need to be aware of CSS selector specificity.

My point, and I do have one, and I am getting to it, is similar to this one. Getting TypeKit to work on your blog can be frustrating especially if you are not familiar with CSS. That’s a quote from (and a link to) a guide to using Typekit at WordPress.com. The guide is good, but the quote could be more specific. You need to be familiar with the CSS of the theme.

My CSS isn’t terrible. I’ve tweaked a few themes, including Simpla for this blog. I found Typekit it harder to apply Typekit to that CSS than I did to tune the CSS itself.

I suspect that using Typekit is trickier than editing CSS. I’m generalizing, not only from my own experience, but from what others have written (in, for example, a post in the WordPress.com forums).

So, although Typekit has lower financial barriers to use than the CSS upgrade, it has higher overall barriers to use. I have concerns about this. One is that it’ll cause frustration for WordPress.com bloggers who see that they can try Typekit for free. The other is that Typekit support may be swamped. Anyway, time to email thanks to the Typekitter who supported me.

Typing the Candidates

January 27, 2008

Barack Obama LogoToday’s Boston Globe carries an article by Sam Berlow and Cyrus Highsmith of The Font Bureau. Here are some of their comments on the candidates’ logos and, in particular, on the fonts used.

  • Obama’s type is contemporary, fresh, very polished and professional. The serifs are sharp and pointed… The ever-present rising sun logo has the feeling of a hot new Internet company.
  • The Hillary type palette is far from fresh and colorful; it is begging for legitimacy instead of demanding respect. It projects recycled establishment. The type has a tired feeling.
  • Huckabee has the most inexplicable selection of typography and graphics.
  • If we were to predict the results based on typography and design, we would pick McCain and Obama.

Clearview on the Highways

September 26, 2007

This is Clearview, the typeface that is poised to replace Highway Gothic, the standard that has been used on signs across the country for more than a half-century. I just found, rather late and via Reddit, an interesting NYT article about the development of Clearview. Although I like Clearview as a font, Highway Gothic kicks its ampersand when it comes to having a cool name.

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