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Body font limitations


Active Member
Xenonsoft said:
It dawned on me just now that there may be some fonts in word* that aren't available for internet use, and firefox/safari/IE may have different fonts available to them.
Hi Fred,

As pangolin says it's dependent on the OS more than browser, that's while you'll often see groups of web safe fonts, 'Arial, Helvetica, Sans-Serif' - So first it would look to use Arial if that isn't available Helvetica, etc.

There's a handy site/tool I posted a while back that lets you view various fonts, and it tells you if they're PC/Mac standard, and it also lets you grab the CSS for them :up: http://www.designforums.co.uk/web-design-layout/905-typography-tool-web.html

Call me old fashioned, but if you're typesetting for a website i.e. to be viewed almost exclusively on low resolution screens, then you should stay clear of faces that were specifically designed to be printed onto paper. The whole point of body text is that it's easy to read at smaller sizes, which is achieved with good colour, balance and contrast. Many faces loose these attributes on screen because of the huge difference in resolution between printed media and what you see on an average computer monitor. Instead look to fonts designed with web usage in mind; Lucinda and Verdana to name but two.

As Greg and others have mentioned, there's a list of what's likely to be installed on your average machine, depending on font foundry's licensing agreements with OSX and Windows. From this list, reserach fonts and test therm in usage before making a decision, please don't choose one just becuase it looks nice.


Active Member
Cheers for your input Matt.

I hope the term 'body' I'm talking about isn't getting confused. What I mean by this, is simply the main text on a the website, such as for this site it seems to be arial, around 10-12pt.

I'm not sure I really agree that there is much difference between print and web regarding how fonts display. Clearly, in print it's fixed, it wont change, and on the web safari will render a little differently to firefox. I realise there are many other factors like resolution, but that's each users choice, and they can scale it up or down as they choose. Obviously I'll test at different resolutions before launching the site though.

My point is though, that they're still the same shapes, they can still have a large amount of contrast (albeit not as much as on print). Regarding display at small sizes, I wont be dipping below 10 or 12pt, so it should be legible enough. What I'm saying is, that the differences don't hold a massive grasp on the way I'll use them.

Arial was designed for print, but really works on the web. It's one of my favourite body fonts, it may be a rip-off, but it's certainly versatile and easily readable.

That's my two pence, your opinion is most certainly interesting and welcomed, please reply if you feel the urge.