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Chapter 12. Web Typography

While certain parts of CSS—especially the float property—can be charitably described as difficult, there are other parts that offer a terrific return on the investment of time required to learn them. Font and text properties are among these easier aspects.

Note

The material that follows is not intended as a complete property survey. For a full overview of CSS properties and values, please consult this book’s companion website. The following O’Reilly books, both by Eric Meyer, might also prove useful:

This chapter starts with an introduction to the art of traditional Western printing, which will go a long way to helping you understand why untrained stakeholders often develop unrealistic expectations of the Web’s capacity for controlling presentation.

A Brief History of Letterforms

In the present day, when functional literacy lies within the reach of all but the most impoverished and isolated, it’s easy to take writing for granted. In fact, writing systems claim 5,000 years of steady evolution, and much of that change has taken place within living memory.

The history of writing and printing teaches control—artists and designers have centuries-long traditions of being able to exercise complete control over the impressions that make their way onto the printed page. This is a far cry from the state of the Web, which places many absolute limits on design control. The use of Adobe Flash to create web content can lessen design ...

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