The late, great graphic designer Massimo Vignelli famously used only five typefaces in his career –
Why would a designer place such a constraint on himself, especially considering the breadth of his career? Typefaces are a tool to be used in design, and he knew these tools well. He knew how extensive those typefaces were, what their strengths were, and where they were weak. He felt he could address the tone of any project with these five choices.
It’s not a bad idea, in this age of widely available digital fonts. You will certainly be moving along with a design a lot faster if you only have to pick from a handful of great fonts, rather than sifting through hundreds of mediocre fonts.
Check it out – http://www.google.com/webfonts/v2!
Google Fonts offically (soft) launched the new version of their Google Fonts directory late last week. It’s a huge improvement in every way imaginable. They did some really great work on it. I was privileged to be part of the user research process, and I can tell you a LOT of very hard work went into getting this thing right.
One of the stated goals for version 2 is that they will have 1000+ web fonts to choose from in one year’s time. This new design will definitely handle that volume of web fonts better than the original version.
There are also many more tools that let you look at how your fonts will be used. The “Test Drive” feature is particularly nice.
I think one of the smartest new additions is the data impact indicator that is shown on the last page of the process. It’s great to know how much load you are really adding.
So, go take it for a spin, and get using those web fonts!
Open Sans – a family with 10 variants
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the font that Google announced a few weeks ago – seriously, check out Open Sans, by Steve Matteson.
I feel like this one is the gem in the crown for Google fonts. It’s a real workhorse type sans-serif, but one designed with web in mind. It’s like Helvetica in it’s utility, but screen friendly like Verdana. But unlike Verdana, it’s not ugly over 11px.
I hope to see this one used on a LOT of websites in the future.