Betatype

Fonts for screen typography

There is no comparison between the beauty of printed type and the shallow simulacra of type displayed on a low resolution screen. That being said, more and more printed genres are evaporating as we read more and more on screen.

We've seen it with annual reports. Printed newspapers are gasping for air. The paperback industry is looking over the edge of a precipitous drop. Let's face it: the future of moveable type is on screen.

Someday everywhere we look we will see beautiful high resolution screens with eye popping color and detail. Everything we look at will be covered with moving images. The grocery store shelves will look like Times Square. We will do a good portion of our reading on handheld devices with amazing type rendering capabilities.

In the meantime, however, back in 96 dpi land we see very little type diversity in our compulsive on-screen reading (slashdot.org how I hate you. I've given you the best years of my life). Apple struck a blow with Safari 3.1 that allows CSS sheets to reference TrueType fonts (Yay! Go Apple!). The font industry is screaming because someone might use their fonts illegally on the web. What they don't realize is that right now no one is using their fonts on the web, illegally or not. That's all about to change. Hopefully now we'll see more types designed for screen use. Hopefully we'll see more creativity and expressiveness in screen typography. We'll certainly have to generate some new EULAs for our fonts.

With that long prologue, here are some sketches of a new type I'm designing for on screen reading:

What are some of the techniques you are using to make this typeface work onscreen? I know that Matthew Carter made bitmaps before Beziers for Verdana and Georgia and that the new ClearType typefaces took that rendering method into account, but I assume you're not designing just for ClearType and didn't start with pixels.

I dig the look, as well as the cute tidbit there. I too am curious as to how you did it.