Web typography class at School of Design

Earlier this month Tin Kadoić invited me to hold a class to a group of students at School of Design in Zagreb. The topic was Web Typography and the goal was to introduce to students how type works in modern browsers.

We weren’t aiming to teach them CSS or any coding techniques for that matter. We were after explaining technical limitations on the web. It was all about a few important points, live explained with Typetester and presented in a form of a checklist (PDF, 24KB).

The group was already familiar with the design theory. I was quite astonished how well they handle typographic vocabulary. They were, on the other hand, disappointed by the fact that there’s only few fonts they can use for body copy in order to cover the majority of visitors.

The students were interested in learning about progressive enhancement with image and Flash replacement methods. Once I explained structural layers and how page mechanics work in general, they asked a couple of smart questions, which lead to an interesting discussion. Mission accomplished.

Jon Tan’s article Flipped Types was a great help to explain the major difference in approach when designing for print vs. web.

The summary of the morning is best explained by one of the students’ genuine eureka conclusion:

“Oh, God! So it basically means, we have to think about many different scenarios when designing for the web?”

Marko Dugonjić is a designer specialized in user experience design, web typography and web standards. He runs a nanoscale user interface studio Creative Nights and organizes FFWD.PRO, a micro-conference and workshops for web professionals.

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