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Typographic Design: Form and Communication, 6th Edition by Mark Sanders, Sandra Maxa, Ben Day, Philip B. Meggs, Rob Carter

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8

Typography on Screen

As more designers become involved in on-screen design, the need to preserve typographic integrity in this environment becomes paramount. Doing so, however, is complicated by rapidly changing technology: screen sizes, screen resolutions, and new types of interactivity.

Typographic considerations for printed communications carry over to on-screen environments. However, designing with type on screen poses special additional challenges, and attempts by designers to simply mimic the appearance of the printed page are mistaken. This chapter discusses the relationship of typography to screen environments, especially as concerns legibility, visual hierarchy, and structuring type on digital pages.

RENDERING TYPE ON SCREEN

The Internet provides a challenging environment for good typography, especially with text sizes. Its problems are inherent in all on-screen font displays, whether designing typography for a laptop, tablet, smartphone, interactive kiosk, or website. When designing on a computer screen—even when the final production will take another form, such as offset printing—the same legibility issues apply to on-screen type. Screen fonts are bitmaps, which are digitized images made up of tiny dots.

To render an outline letterform stored as a Bézier curve on a computer screen, it must be rasterized, or converted into tiny dots called pixels, which is short for picture elements. The relatively low resolution of many contemporary computer screens, which typically ...

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