Text Styles

Text Styles: What is in a font?

First I will need to define the concept of a style with respect to web sites. A style is a set of instructions for a web site defining things like background color or picture, font, font color, font size for different headings, etc. A web site is generally set up using what is called a CSS. CSSs stands for “Cascading Style Sheet”. This is a fancy name for a simple yet very powerful concept. What it means is that a style sheet is created during the initial web site set-up that provides a set of defaults that determines what the style of the site will be unless it is over ridden. Note that it can be over ridden for a few pages, a single page or just a portion of the page. When this happens the over riding style is take precedent. 

For this web site, I included as part of the CSS the following:

  • The banner and buttons for the reasons previously mentioned
  • The background because it matched to color scheme and I liked a little but subtle design in it.
  • The text font: I chose Trebuchet MS. I did this because it was San Serif and I think that Serifs add too much of a formal look to the text and I liked the casual elegance of the Trebuchet font.
  • I Chose the font color to provide readability while not providing a stark difference with the background like a black on white would have done. I believe this adds to the informality of it as well as giving readable and enjoyable appearance.
  • I chose the font size because my eyesight isn’t as good as it once was and I felt that it would be easier on the casual viewer. (You will note in the “Journal Page example”, I changed the font to a more standard serif font and reduced the size in the Paul Hunt story. This was to emphasize the author was Paul and it was in a magazine prose style. Again the change was for a specific reason. 
  • Other than the cases mentioned, I stuck with a fairly standard set of Header sizes and paragraph styles. This was to stay as consistant as possible with the several browsers in use today.

The advantage of using CSS definitions are several:

  1. It allows the site designer to make general decisions that affect the entire web site so that when adding content to the web site that these decisions do not have to be addressed with each page or paragraph of whatever. If properly chosen then the majority of the web site will use the default values giving the web site a consistent appearance and provides the user with a consistent experience. The default values can be over ridden at anytime to make a special point or to add emphasis or any other legitimate reason. I would suggest that unless there is a specific reason that once the style is set to stick with it.
  2. It greatly enhances the work flow of setting up, populating and maintaining the web site. All variables in the menus that govern things covered by the CSS are set at their default levels.
  3. Any changes that is desired once the web site has been design can now be made to all elements covered by the CSS with a simple change the CSS  itself.
  4. The consistency this approach adds to a web site results in a very professional and coherent look to it. 
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