An Emphasis on Typography

Just yesterday, I wrote about some redesign efforts that are underway. One huge catching point has been my struggles with typography and fonts for the new design. I never put much thought into web typography in the past, but after perusing some great designs around the internet, I’ve come to realize its importance, especially in a text-heavy design, such as a blog. Web compatibility was a big reason for staying within the safe confines of the common fonts in the past, and I didn’t want to venture into Flash-based text renders to expand the font-palette.

So, when I read about cufón and subsequently typeface.js not three days ago, I realized the means for inserting some new fonts into the design was possible.

Then imagine my surprise when I sat down in my User Interface Design class today and found out the topics for the lecture would be typography, fonts, and design salience. The first few lectures of that course have been a bit dry. They focused more on the analytical (scientific) side of UI design. They drove the design processes and methodologies used for gathering information on the system, with which design decisions can be made. Now with that largely out of the way, we’ve moved onto the emotional design (artistic) portion of the course. This is what I signed up for.

As with any practical topic, attempting to teach design in a classroom can be difficult (similarly, we had a debate on the merits of teaching entrepreneurship in my entrepreneurship class), but I firmly believe that there are academic concepts which can be used in very practical situations. For example, our discussion today on the effect of color on design element salience enabled me to make a better decision (in my opinion) in the upcoming redesign. That’s academia in practice.