Typography insights

Discover webfonts' impact on UX, explore flexible variable fonts, and the shift from Calibri to Aptos in Microsoft Office. Font choices matter.

Typography insights
Update on Webfonts and news about Apros, the new font face for Microsoft Office.

If you're anything like me, you've come to realize that fonts are more than just a backdrop for words—they're the unsung heroes of visual communication.

In this post, I'll be sharing some exciting insights I've gained about fonts, from their role in web design to the recent Microsoft Office font switch.

The Art of Typography in Web Design

As a web strategist, I'm constantly exploring ways to enhance user experiences online. One crucial aspect that often takes the spotlight is typography. Fonts can influence how users perceive a website, affecting readability, mood, and even trust.

Here are a few key takeaways of my own learnings that might reshape your approach to web fonts:

Webfonts: Google Hosting vs. Local

The choice between hosting fonts via Google Fonts or using local hosting has more implications than you might think. While Google Fonts offer convenience and a wide array of options, local hosting can provide better performance and control over loading times. The decision ultimately hinges on finding the right balance for your website's needs.

I've implemented the 'Just Any Font' plugin on my WordPress site, mirroring the default behavior in Ghost. With this clever tool, I ensure that all my web fonts are loaded from the same domain name. This not only contributes to faster page load times, enhancing the overall user experience, but also prioritizes user data privacy.

Variable Web Fonts: Embracing Flexibility

Variable fonts are a game-changer, allowing a single font file to offer multiple weights, styles, and even widths. This not only reduces page load times but also offers creative freedom for designers. Imagine a font that adapts harmoniously to various screen sizes and contexts!

A variable font is a type of font format that allows for a single font file to encompass a wide range of styles and variations. Unlike traditional fonts, where each style (such as bold, italic, light, etc.) requires a separate font file, a variable font combines all these styles into one file. This is achieved through the use of adjustable design axes, which are like sliders that control various attributes of the font, such as weight, width, and slant.

Variable font demonstrated

Fixed vs. Swap: A Delicate Balance

Fonts can be set as "fixed" or "swap" depending on how crucial they are for your content's legibility. Fixed fonts load first, maintaining the design's integrity, while swap fonts load later, ensuring content remains readable even during loading. It's all about achieving a balance between aesthetics and functionality.

Microsoft's Font change: Calibri to Aptos

Recently, news broke that Microsoft Office is bidding farewell to the long-serving Calibri font and welcoming the new Aptos as its default typeface. This change has already stirred discussions and anticipation within the design community.

While Aptos may be the fresh face, we can't ignore its potential lineage to the timeless Helvetica font. This transition is a reminder that even established brands acknowledge the importance of staying relevant and embracing change.

Aptos, formerly known as Bierstadt
Aptos, formerly known as Bierstadt

The face of communication

At the heart of all these font discussions lies a fundamental truth: fonts are more than just visual elements. They're vehicles for emotions, ideas, and messages. A font choice can evoke nostalgia, establish credibility, or create a sense of modernity. It can bridge cultures, convey urgency, and even spark curiosity. Fonts are, in essence, the voice of your content—a powerful communicator that resonates with your audience.

I'm reminded that fonts are more than just design choices; they're integral to the stories we tell and the connections we make. So next time you're choosing a font for your website, blog, or project, remember the vast impact it can have on how your message is received.

A nice place to play around with variable fonts is Ubuntu. They have there own variable, sans-serif and mono-spaced font which is used in the Operating System and in their marketing communications like the website. The font is aptly called Ubuntu.