yoy.be "Why-o-Why"

The ongoing search for the best suitable font.

2014-10-03 18:50  i3078  weblog coding werk  [permalink]

There is something mesmerizingly strange about the font “PT Sans” (and “PT Sans Serif” and “PT Mono” for that matter, but in this specific case it’s about “PT Sans”).

For something at work I was looking for a font to use throughout a set of applications and a web-site to tie them together and set them apart from all of the other day-to-day work that people at work do. Therefore this font has a lot of requirements to conform to:

I have tested a large number of fonts for all of these. Some are too wide, some too narrow, some too ugly, some too frivolous. Some are bad at the default screen size. Some are too much just another Helvetica clone. A few were only missing a bold or italic version. I know what I’m asking for is a lot, but fonts that get close are generally of a certain age, further along than version ‘1.0’. It takes a lot of work to make a font, and a lot more of work to make a good font. It shows when the font has gotten a lot of care and attention.

From time to time I search the web for other fonts and go through a procedure to test them: make the website use the font, watch a number of pages with lists and common operations to see what they look like. If I like that, put the font up in an application and see if that looks good. Then run the application on the oldest workstation to see what it looks like.

I like to read about the story behind a font. Who made it, why was it made, what was it originally used for. (How come it’s made free for use?) There is so much there.

For now “PT Sans” is about the only font that fits all of my wishes the best. This is the strange thing about it. It appears to be made specifically for Cyrillic script, but the Latin are really good as well. It’s well balanced, does digits well, renders on screen resolution good. So by that logic there must have been a very large amount of work put into it. Based on a very rich set of knowledge on the subject. But I don’t find any record of that, or don’t know where to look for it.

But that’s it. The last few searches have not resulted in a better fit to my needs than “PT Sans”. The project is in development still, but is using “PT Sans” throughout. It’s looking great. Helping its little bit to make a splendid first impression to everyone I’ve demoed to up till now.

And look at that capital Q. Look at it.