Monday, April 28, 2008

Are you the web type?

We've recently presented some online concepts to clients based on branding work that was previously executed in print. The challenge with this sequence of design is often that the print form factor becomes the place from which the online design is concepted and evaluated...especially when it comes to the use of type.

Our discussion, centered as it was on the original print, reminded me that sometimes even 'professionals' get distracted from adhering to online principles for using type. We might (horrors!) even place type in ways that we know to be perfectly inappropriate online: think navigation-labels- reversed-out-over-photo-imagery kind of inappropriateness. Well, we're imperfect creatures at best. But, we can continually strive for perfection. And, just when we need it, here comes a smashing bit of type tipping from Smashing Magazine.

As a summarized list:

1. Approach type decisions systematically (type serves many roles online, including search)

2 + 3. Use information hierarchy and design for flow (remembering that heirarchy includes what is important from a navigational view)

4. Maintain legibility (my favorite...does effective branding favor illegibility?)

5. Treat text as a user interface (unformatted text gives you little sense of interaction options)

Here's a favorite example of Type Gone Wild:

An agency site. How surprising is that?

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