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The Reading Edge

Benton Modern RE, illustrates the value of screen-specific design variations. [Detail]

Painstakingly crafted by the fine men and women of the Font Bureau, The Reading Edge is a series of eight font families, each with four basic styles, designed to function reliably at 9–18px, in short perfect for characters on the small screen.

As the series’ designers put it:

The limitations of today’s screen-based media impose many restrictions on web typography. Even if a designer understands these limitations, the large majority of typefaces available for web use were not designed for that purpose. Crafted with the same level of care as the rest of Font Bureau’s library, the Reading Edge series is a collection of web fonts that helps alleviate this tension between refined typography and the screen.

Designed from the pixel up, specifically for use on small screens at small sizes, the series takes into consideration the effects of rasterisation and sub-pixel rendering that often pose a hazardous environment for finely crafted fonts. The result is a series of robust and versatile fonts designed specifically for onscreen reading.

Better still, the Reading Edge series is designed to correspond to existing typefaces in Font Bureau’s print and web libraries to help facilitate brand consistency across various media.

The series’ designers have written up extensive (and hugely informative) notes on the designs’ development, including links to a number of other precursors, researching readable type. Associated reading includes notes on: The Linotype Legibility Group; insights into Matthew Carter’s designs for Georgia and Verdana; and The Readability Series, a group of print typefaces from Font Bureau that provides newspapers with fonts robust enough to withstand crude output conditions.

All in all an exhaustive, and impressive body of work. Do yourself a favour and set aside some time to explore what the Reading Edge has to offer. We can guarantee you’ll emerge with a deeper understanding of the challenges of crafting typography for the small screen. Excellent work indeed.

1349270640 · Christopher Murphy · Follow Us on Twitter

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