Nick Sherman is a Brooklyn-based typographer and typographic consultant. He works at Font Bureau and Webtype promoting typefaces for print and digital media. A co-founder of Fonts In Use and director-at-large for the Type Directors Club, his interests also include wood type and pizza.
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Today’s web fonts are not living up to their potential. What if the stylistic parameters of a typeface were fluidly variable? What if the design of a typeface could be as flexible and responsive as the layout it exists within? Nick Sherman shows us where we’ve been and where we’re going as we move toward truly responsive web typography.
For ideal typography, web designers need to know as much as possible about each user’s reading environment. That may seem obvious, but the act of specifying web typography is currently like ordering slices of pizza without knowing how large the slices are or what toppings they are covered with.
Font hinting has been the source of countless headaches for type designers and users. In the meantime, some of the most fundamental and important elements of typography still can’t be addressed with the web of today. Rather than being seen as a tedious chore whose demise will be celebrated, hinting might actually provide the essentials for truly responsive design, and vastly expand the possibilities of digital typography for designers, publishers, and readers.