I’m trying out another new look for this blog. This design will probably evolve over time, but I am excited about the new direction — most significantly, the new colors, and the custom fonts using @font-face in CSS. The fonts are from a site I just discovered and am very excited about: The League of Moveable Type (no relation to Movable Type, the blogging software).
Of course, Internet Explorer won’t support it, so the fonts degrade to more common, standard, and boring options.
Any use of a font is a validation of its aesthetics, and since I find the aesthetics of Verdana appalling, I am sad to see it get validation from the likes of IKEA.
I feel like I got a bit of a scoop here, because I first noticed the use of Verdana at IKEA about a month ago. At the time I thought it was a fluke — I saw it on one of their vertical banners, posted near the cafe, and it appeared to be a locally-produced sign advertising some particular regional specialty they were temporarily adding to the menu. It looked like someone at the local store had tried to design a banner to match the corporate standard, but was ignorant of the nuances of fonts, and used Verdana because they either didn’t have Futura or couldn’t tell the difference (gasp!)… or both.
But then earlier this week I was leafing through the 2010 IKEA catalog that was sitting on our coffee table, when it struck me that the whole bloody thing was set in Verdana. How could this be?!
As I said, I feel like I got a bit of a scoop here, because I mentioned this observation on Twitter three days ago, and only now is it showing up on Daring Fireball via lonelysandwich via Hunk-O-Mass via jhn brssndn via hellaposer via Typophile. And apparently Typophile does not yet have the bandwidth to handle being “fireballed” and “sandwiched” (and… uh… “34ed”… yeah, that’s it), since I can’t get it to load right now.
I feel like I’m in good company though, because these guys are echoing my longstanding sentiments towards Verdana. From Gruber:
I have never seen Verdana look good in any way other than in small sizes on-screen.
And, even more on-the-money, from Lisagor:
Sure, Gruber uses it tastefully, but at anything larger than 11pt, it feels to me a bit squat and dopey. Friendly and readable, but a little bit simple, in the way you’d say a person is simple, but only behind his back.
Well played. Part of IKEA’s rationale is that “they want to be able to give the same visual impression both in print and the web.” Well, that can be done without resorting to this abominable solution. Especially with the imminent ascension of @font-face.
I’m pleased to announce the launch of a brand new version of my John Coltrane website.
This is the first step in an ongoing process of splitting my currently mammoth website into distinct, separate websites tailored to specific content areas. Basically, each of the top-level navigation items you see at the top of this page will eventually become its own site.
For now there’s not a lot of new content on the Coltrane site — the big “draw” is the redesign itself. But I’ve added a blog to the site, and eventually I’ll also be adding a multimedia section where I’ll be featuring audio and video clips. Check it out!
This site design was also an opportunity for me to test the effectiveness of my new Room 34 Baseline WordPress theme. Believe it or not, that barebones theme really is the foundation upon which the new Coltrane site is built. So it works!
This site also takes advantage of some cutting-edge web design features: it’s built with HTML 5 and the Blueprint CSS framework, and it uses the emerging @font-face CSS method to render text in a custom font. I am using the free Museo font family throughout the site.