Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"Responsive Typography" by Jason Pamental

Pamental's "Responsive Typography" is another one of O'Reilly's series of short and narrowly focused books covering some particular aspect of web technology and/or design.
In this case, no surprises here, the focus of the book is on using typography well online.

The book is divided into two parts. The first is a kind of capsule history of rendering text on the web. In it Pamental gives an amusing account of the hoops designers and coders had to jump through to get their copy looking halfway decent. There is, further, some useful -- but short -- discussion of typography's place in design. This might be useful to someone who doesn't quite yet get just how critical appropriate typography is in ensuring complete and effective design.

The second part of the book deals with the practicalities of using webfonts. This is the part that most programmers will find useful. While most of this information can be gathered from other sources, having it presented in this extended-article type style means that most of what you want to know about using webfonts is accessible in one go, and in a single voice. Further, Pamental gives a number of important hints regarding best practices. I, for one, found his discussion on preventing (or, more accurately, masking) FOUT exceptionally useful.

While this book is good, and I recommend it to anyone looking to implement webfonts, I cannot rate it as highly as I might otherwise simply because the book is so short. It really is as if one were reading a series of three or four articles on a design website.

I would love to see what Pamental does with an expanded edition of the book.

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