A couple of days ago I switched the Neuton typeface into this space, via Google Web Fonts. I liked it but a lot of others didn’t, and it turned out that for some reason, on Windows it just didn’t work as a body font; I suspect it’d be fine for display purposes (as in, for headlines). So, on to Plan B: FF Tisa Web Pro, from Typekit.
Why Tisa? · I spent a really excessive amount of time trying this font and that, but at the end of the day the choice was easy. I wanted something that was really easy to read, unobtrusive, and yet struck my eye as “modern”, whatever that means.
I was also struck by the narrative: “Mitja Miklavčič drew FF Tisa to meet the technological and aesthetic requirements of modern magazine use.” Because, all these years into the blog experience, I now think that’s what this wants to be: a modern magazine. This has become clearer with the rise of Twitter and Tumblr pushing the limits of the short form, and then of Facebook and Google+, working on publishing-as-conversation.
Also, I’m prone to italics, and some otherwise-great fonts tend to crumble when bent over. That’s a big problem with Georgia, which has otherwise served me pretty well here all these years.
Mechanics · Setting up Typekit fonts is not quite as much of a no-brainer as are Google Web Fonts. Their “Kit Editor” Web application is nicely-designed but accumulates entropy and has to be relaunched every so often.
The real pain-in-the-butt is caching. The font download for Tisa (I left out the bold-italic variant) is 110K; so yes, please cache it. Except for when I’m twiddling CSS selectors, or trying to A/B back and forth between a couple of fonts. For Safari in particular, if you want to un-cache a font, you have to take the ship up and nuke the site from orbit; it’s the only way to be sure.
What I eventually did for A/B testing was to set up three copies
of the same page, and hand-edit them to put
class="F1" on each
paragraph tag in the first,
class="F2" in the second, and so on.
Then I set up a Typekit kit including all three fonts with
.F3 selectors. Kind of gross, but it got
me there; there’s just no substitute for looking at the options
Finance · I signed up for Typekit’s “Portfolio” package at $49.99/year. This strikes me as a fair price for what they offer, and I have no urge to “own” a font. If Typekit becomes unreasonable down the road, I’m sure there will be lots of competitive options.