I have played around with fonts a lot of this site. And I mean a lot. Then why did you settle on the unbelievably boring and over-used Georgia then? Well, it could be worse…I could of used Arial. Yes, Arial. I was seriously considering it. (I actually hate helvetica because of the way it renders, or fails to render smoothly on my Windows XP computer. Please convince me of its merits when it renders so choppily on some browsers. Especially Chrome of all browsers…but we’ll get more to that later.)
Anyway. Yes. Fonts, fonts, fonts. Now that there is some choice in fonts at least.
Too bad they are sort of…not choices. Why Google Chrome doesn’t play well with Google Web Fonts? I’m not sure. It’s sort of how Windows Explorer (the freaking file browser!) crashes windows sometimes. Although I’m not sure if Safari has the same web font problem or not…both Chrome and Safari use the same rendering engine, Webkit.
I originally was going to use serif fonts for the text and headings.
So I experimented with a few Google Web Fonts and finally settled on a nice font called Amaranth (you can download it here) which just happened to be sans-serif. Aside from the letters not always aligning at the baseline, I quite like it. I eventually switched to @font-face (a newish way of embedding fonts. I used a kit from Font Squirrel in this case) when I got annoyed at the load time. There may still be a bit of a flash but it doesn’t seem to be as bad.
Well, I quite like Amaranth for headings. It looks terrible as body text or small text in general since beside the chrome issue, the regular is still quite bold. But that’s fine for headings.
As for the body text – with the heading font in place, I seemed to be going back and forth between serif and san-serif font families. I tried almost all serif websafe fonts with varying levels of success (Georgia, Palatino) and a few others. But I found they weren’t as clear as I wanted them to be. So I tried for sans-serif. I tried Tahoma (which was okay but meh) and Trebuchet MS. The Trebuchet seemed to not quite clash with the headings but looked oddly too similar to me as if it was some sort of “off version” of it so I changed it. Arial looked really clear though.
Then I tried a web font (for testing before I go embedded) Surprisingly I discovered that Chrome (on Windows XP, on my sucky machine anyway) really sucks at font rendering. Oh, I always sort of knew that it sort of sucked since it won’t render small cap HTML entities (though it does okay on my Windows 7 laptop). But this web font thing is not just slightly annoying – it’s so blurry and pixated that it’s hard to read. It also really sucks at rendering Google Web Fonts, ironically (yes, it’s ironic. I was so expecting Google Chrome to be great with Google Web Fonts. Apparently not.). Equally surprisingly, Internet Explorer 7 renders the Google Web Font fine and much, much better then Chrome. Yes, the same browser that can’t even load my sidebar or my navigation bar or my footer properly can render the web font smoothly. See Google Chrome, you should be ashamed of yourself!
I can’t ignore Chrome like I can with Internet Explorer. Well, I can I suppose. But I use Chrome and its fine for everything else but the font-rendering issue. So there goes that…and I’m not sure if Safari has a similar problem (on Mac or Windows) or not. Chrome isn’t going away in the near future. Safari isn’t going away in the new future. Internet Explorer 6/7/8 should go away one day…maybe (hopefully…it can’t even render the stupid sidebar!).
So much for that. I was going to use Alegreya – it’s nice serif font (unless you’re looking at it in Chrome on my computer evidently). It even was originally designed for literature and long-form text which is just perfect for me…but it looks terrible on Chrome (on my computer anyway).
I know based on the font name, it sort of looks like I choose my font based on the first thing I saw…and maybe I did. Ha!
Dear Google Chrome,
Since you like auto-updating so much please fix your stupid excuse of font-rendering so I can use the font I want! Also, fix it so you don’t look like such an idiot unable to render your own freaking font library smoothly.
An Annoyed Person (one of many I’m sure).
Yeah, that’s why I wound up using regular web safe fonts for the body text instead.
I played with a few serif fonts but eventually settled with Georgia since it seemed to be the most readable and clear. Boring, but it gets the job done. “Boring but practical“, indeed.