Each month we take our popular Rising Stars newsletter and convert the samples into webfont versions, noting the best ways to exploit the fonts’ features or find work arounds for the best results in common browsers. Here’s this month’s selection:
Brandon Grotesque has been one of our strongest selling webfonts for the last couple of years, not least because it has a subtly distinctive character that sets it apart from most of the other modern sans serif faces out there — a combination of retro elegance and contemporary simplicity and clarity. The only downside was its rather small x-height, which made it problematic for setting longer texts. Brandon Text addresses that issue by increasing the x-height while, like Brandon Grotesque, it has been manually optimized for excellent on-screen performance. Highly recommended!
Mandevilla is Laura Worthington’s latest, and represents something of a departure from her signature script and calligraphic work, although it retains a semi-formal hand-lettered foundation based on writing with a round-tipped pen. The standard desktop version of the font is well equipped with plenty of alternate characters, swashes and a set of simpler medium sized capitals, but these features are only accessible with OpenType friendly browsers. Web typographers shouldn’t be unduly discouraged though; Mandevilla, in its most basic incarnation, is a simple creature with a wide open countenance, whose capitals show just enough flair to catch the eyes of passers-by.
While script fonts designed for desktop applications are usually assessed by how many features they have (rule of thumb: anything over a thousand glyphs equals good), web typographers have to judge a script font based on how well it performs with absolutely no help from OpenType programming. Under this criterion, Salamander from Finland’s Fenotype does pretty well. As a connecting script, it does the basics well: letters connect without too much clashing or illogical movements of the “pen”. As a bonus, each of its two weights has an accompanying ornaments font with lots of banners, pictograms, swooshes and swirls that, with a bit of hard-coding, could be used to add some extra flourish to a web page layout.
Soin Sans Pro takes its inspiration from the geometric modernist typefaces of the twenties and thirties, with some more humanist elements thrown into the mix, such as the two storey lowercase ‘a’ and ‘g’. In addition to the family’s four weights and matching obliques, there’s a nice unicase Headline font, which will be very useful for making tightly set blocks of homepage text. Use the
text-transform:lowercase; CSS property for the best, most interesting results, particularly for instances of dynamic content such as blog headlines.