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Typographic Design: Form and Communication, 5th Edition by Philip B. Meggs, Ben Day, Rob Carter

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8

Typography on Screen

As more professional designers become involved in Web site design, the need to preserve typographic integrity in this environment and other interaction design environments is of paramount concern. Marshall McLuhan's “Global Village” has indeed become a reality with nearly 2,000,000,000 billion worldwide users online compared to 16 million in 1995.

Typographic concerns for printed communications are shared by online environments. However, designing with type on-screen poses special challenges, and attempts by designers to simply mimic the appearance of the printed page is a mistake. This chapter discusses the relationship of typography and screen environments, including legibility factors, visual heirarchy, and structuring type on electronic pages.

Rendering type on screen

The Internet provides a challenging environment for good typography, especially with text sizes. Its problems are inherent in all on-screen font displays, whether designing typography for a laptop, digital notebook, cell-phone display, interactive kiosk, or Web site. When designing on a computer screen – even when the final production will take another form, such as offset printing – the same legibility issues apply to on-screen type. Screen fonts are bitmaps, which are digitized images made up of tiny dots.

To render an outline letterform stored as a Bézier curve on a computer screen, it must be rasterized, or converted into tiny dots called pixels, which is short for picture elements. ...

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