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    My impression of this post is not positive.

    First of all, the page layout on my 15” laptop screen, plus Firefox, looks terrible. On top of that, the typography of the post itself is nothing to write home about. Beautiful typography has this universal quality: it just looks good to most eyes, and this page? This page is not beautiful.

    Second, I think it is patently untrue to claim that paid fonts automatically make you a better typographer. For evidence, see the plethora of quality open source fonts.

    Third, I am not convinced about the value of the suggested point sizes. Personally, I prefer larger point sizes in my text, whenever I can afford it, but I’m not going to run around claiming that I have found the golden range of point sizes. If you want to make that claim, I do think you have to back it up with evidence; something that is sorely missing in modern typography circles.

    Page margins fall in a similar boat to my complaints about claims regarding ideal point sizes. Far more egregious is the fact that the page margins for this page on my 15” laptop screen are atrocious. Why is the body text laid out off-center, all the way to the right?

    Overall: all the bells in my head ring “shilling!”.

    This is the first post I will flag on lobste.rs (I’m a new user), with “off-topic”, for being low quality, and an ad. I’m willing to have my changed about this post, and I guess a single flag means nothing anyway, right?

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      I’m not commenting on your evaluation of the book, but I can answer one of your questions:

      Why is the body text laid out off-center, all the way to the right?

      To make room for notes in the left margin. This page has two such notes: the first one begins “There are 72 points to an inch.” I can see why you thought the body text was off-center, though: if you scroll to a part of the page without margin notes, there is no visual indication of why the left margin is empty.

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        I do not think he means to say that the rules here are universal silver bullets. If you want true nuance about font sizes and open source fonts, it’s covered in the book and acknowledged.

        What this article is a bunch of thumb rules for laypeople/non-designers to get their typography looking better than most defaults provided by typesetting software. It is very hand-wavey and generalizing on purpose, to allow people to get up and running with significantly improved typography very quickly.

        As for your claim for it looking terrible, it is clearly subjective, as on my 15” laptop screen, plus Firefox, I think it looks very beautiful.

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        There are a lot of really nice and readable free fonts out there. Price ≠ quality; yes, that’s true in some cases, but you can get beautiful and high quality fonts freely licensed.

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          The author is also in business of selling fonts, so you have to take that one particular piece of advice in light of that. That said, I’ve read his whole book and it seems to be on point everywhere else.

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            What do you like? I’m leaning towards Charter + Fira Sans for my blog, but I love collecting fonts so I’m always eager to hear what others like.

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              I really love the look of Inconsolata. Originally, I had fallen in love with Consolas, but wanted to make some extensions to it. Looking for an open font similar to Consolas lead me to Inconsolata, which I could easily add extra glyphs to using FontForge. Recently, Inconsolata has had a major update making it a variable font family.

              I use it everywhere where it’s appropriate, which is 90% of my use cases (text editors, code editors, and personal notes).

              For the rest, I use Computer Modern, due to LaTeX. To my eye, LaTeX documents look gorgeous, usually with minimal tweaking, sometimes with more. Again, an open source font.

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                What do you like? I’m leaning towards Charter + Fira Sans for my blog, but I love collecting fonts so I’m always eager to hear what others like.

                I keep (kept?) a list of good typefaces, and I have a Google doc from Doug Wilson in my bookmarks.

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                  Fantastic, thank you!

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                  I’m using Open Sans for my blog (blog.avalos.me), which might not be the fanciest or prettiest font; but it’s extremely readable and friendly. I’m giving hacker vibes to my personal website (avalos.me) with Jetbrains Mono.

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                    Open Sans is quite lovely, I may have to use it!

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                I’m willing to mostly trust the content, though the overload of different styles in the first couple paragraphs is a bit off-putting to me. The recommendation to buy a professional font isn’t that convincing either when the page comes with a “buy font” link itself.

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                  While designers recommend not using system or free fonts, I’ve seen a lot of web developers push for using system fonts. The time it takes to load an external (to the user’s computer) font leads to either a flash of unstyled text (the system font is shown until the real font finishes loading) or a flash of white text (the font doesn’t show up until it finishes loading). Both of these are jarring, and can’t be eliminated completely.

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                    True. It’s funny, that’s the NoScript experience, by default, to see system fonts everywhere. I’ll be left with sans-serif when their CSS assumes the webfont (named first) loaded ok. It’s especially funny on a font’s website, as they try to demo & sell their font in .. sans-serif, like trying to sell me a better TV while I’m watching my old TV.

                    Lobsters has a good font-family, I’d say.

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                      It’s also usually a one-time thing, FWIW. Most sites do it badly, though.

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                      Vollkorn (SIL) is an especially nice typeface to my eye, though it appears to have a few issues with ligatures at the moment. I used it in my Typesetting Markdown series to automatically typeset Jekyll & Hyde, Les Mis, Pride & Prejudice, and others using ConTeXt. I’ve also used it in the preview pane of the text editor I’m developing (demo).

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                        It was an interesting read, but it left me wanting more. I felt like there were a lot of rules with little justification other than “this is standard for designers.”

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                          it left me wanting more

                          If by “it” you mean the linked page, the linked page is just one page of a free online book, Practical Typography. For example, there is a whole page about point size, the topic of the second rule.

                          I felt like there were a lot of rules with little justification other than “this is standard for designers.”

                          Some other pages in the book, such as the page about point size, give more justification for their rules. However, there are indeed some recommendations without specific justification. For example, the page about line length recommends 45–90 characters per line, but doesn’t justify those numbers. I wish the author cited studies, or at least described their personal experiences that led them to pick those numbers.

                          However, I can say in my personal experience restyling hard-to-read body text of websites using user styles, the numbers suggested by these guidelines make the text look more readable than when I try numbers outside of the suggested ranges.

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                            A lot of those numbers come from the consensus of the typesetting/printing industry over the last 4-500 years, rather than scientific studies or personal experimentation. Some printer in Berlin publishes a book that’s formatted somewhat outside the norms, then some printer in Milan sees a copy, and decides (or not) to copy some of the techniques. A printer in Lyon sees a copy of that book and decides they’re all wrong and to try something completely different for an upcoming project. It’s all entirely unscientific, but over a long period of time, natural selection is a powerful factor.

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                              By “it” I meant the book as a whole, I went through it a couple months ago and that was the impression I was left with.

                              I’d believe the numbers, certainly, I’d just like a bit more justification. Some kind of study, perhaps, or a theoretical basis.

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                            The digestibility of the content is really appreciated. I’ll be trying to adhere to these five rules a bit and see if they can produce any improvement in my work.

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                              And finally, font choice. The fastest, easiest, and most visible improvement you can make to your typography is to ignore the fonts already loaded on your computer (known as system fonts) and the free fonts that inundate the internet. Instead, buy a professional font (like those found in font recommendations). A professional font gives you the benefit of a professional designer’s skills without having to hire one.

                              Ouch! Donald Knuth et al. - you’re not worthy!