This question is nearly as old as the written letter. Or to put it more flippantly:
Which came first, the Chicken or the “C”, the “h,” the “i,” the other “c,” the “k,” the “e,” and the “n”?
A popular cry recently has been for designers to design from the content out—sometimes with the variant “from the typography out”—in order to focus on creating the best presentation of the content itself. The theory being if you have a really well-designed piece of content and build a site design framework around that, you’re always putting the most important element of the site—the content itself—at the forefront of your design efforts. While the purpose of this book isn’t to focus on supporting or disputing this notion (and for the record, I think there’s much merit here), it does highlight the importance of considering type very early in your design process. You can’t design “content first” without type!
Beyond aesthetics, there’s consideration of history (does the typeface relate to a certain point in time connected with the content, or have a historical connection to the brand, as in Figure 3-1?), the amount of copy to be set (smaller amounts can be set in a more expressive font; longer passages of body copy might warrant a more “workmanlike” selection), and whether that particular font is available as a web font (and how it looks on various device-and-OS combinations). Tragedy awaits those who don’t check that last aspect and go all the ...