‘Interactive Guide’ Teaches the Basics of Good Web Typography

Good web typography needn’t be difficult, but typography can be a complicated and sometimes intimidating subject for newcomers.

To help you understand typography a bit better — and create better-looking websites with your new understanding — developer Tommi Kaikkonen created his Interactive Guide to Blog Typography. The guide offers a nice hand-holding walk through of the elements that make for good typography on the web, helping you not just make more readable sites, but understand why they’re more readable.

For most suggestions in Kaikkonen’s guide there’s an interactive button to toggle different line-heights, fonts and measures so you can see for yourself why those elements matter and how they contribute to making your site easier to read.

Among the suggestions in Kaikkonen’s guide are to set a readable measure (the number of characters on a line), frame content with white space (to put emphasis on the main part of the page), avoid pure black for text and, unless you really know what you’re doing, stick with just two different fonts.

There is one part of the guide we can’t totally endorse — the last suggestion, which is to use font-variant: small-caps; even if the font you’re using doesn’t actually have a small-caps variant. With some fonts — the traditional six fonts of web design, for example — you can get away with this, but if you’re using fancier fonts like those from Google Web Fonts or TypeKit this can make for some really awful results; proceed with caution on that one.