Scott Boms

Where are we going?

This past Saturday, after several weeks of email, IM, and conference calls, my Butter Label cohorts Luke Dorny, Brian Warren and I, otherwise dubbed “three guys with hats,” gave a brief talk at TypeCon in New Orleans on what web fonts means to designers.

As we discovered, the narrative on the topic of web fonts weaved its way into even more presentations than previously at TypeCon. This meant editing and rehearsing up until the last minute to ensure our spin on the topic was sufficiently unique. And while we somewhat ended up winging it, all three of us came away feeling good and have had great discussions with other speakers and attendees since.

The premise of the talk revolved around the idea that web designers have all along wanted the same typographic control as print has historically enjoyed. In that same vein, now that fine-grained control over type using CSS is becoming a reality, there’s a greater need to educate web designers on how to sensibly select and pair type, evaluate web fonts, and to know when to use advanced typographic features such as those found in newer OpenType fonts.

During the talk we also briefly covered the history of workarounds and hacks that have been invented to bridge the gap between what’s available and what’s really possible.

Additionally, we’ve made the complete anonymous source data from the unscientific, yet (we think) still relevant and interesting survey we ran not long ago to help prepare for the talk. The way to best explore the data is to put it through the lens of early adopters. It’s reasonably safe to assume that’s who the majority of the respondents were.

From Brian, Luke and myself — a big thank you to the TypeCon and SOTA board, staff and volunteers on hand during the conference — especially Michelle, JP, and Grant who helped get us there and made presenting painless. And of course everyone in the audience too.