Webfont Drama - March 2016 Edition

Over the past couple of days there has been some drama surrounding the question of whether to use webfonts or not. Let's see what happened.

Disclaimer: I don't intent to pick 'a side', I just want to try to objectively summarize the events.

Adam Morse published an article (Webfonts), basically saying you shouldn't use webfonts at all.

Typography is not about aesthetics, it's about serving the text. If even a small percentage of people don't consume your content due to a use of webfonts, your typography is failing.

Robin Rendle wrote a response post (In defense of webfonts), defending webfonts:

A web font, just like any other visual stimulus, has work to accomplish. It does have a value and a position in the designer’s toolkit because a web font is one of the most effective ways to display the intent of the text.

At roughly the same time Dave Rupert published a post (Spring Cleaning) about his latest website updates with which he removed web fonts from his site. Although this seemed to happen coincidentally and was not in response to Adams post.

Overwhelmed by the “hurk-jerk” on my site and inspired by the Medium Design Team’s UI system font stack for non-content, I’ve opted to remove Open Sans from my font stack and instead go with system fonts.

In my recent redesign of this site here, I opted to remove web fonts as well and just went with Times New Roman and Verdana. Inspired by Daves spring cleaning and the posts (System Shock and Using System UI Fonts In Web Design: A Quick Practical Guide) by Marcin Wichary from Medium, I decided to go the same route and use system fonts. I'm very happy with this decision.

Then Robin Rendle wrote a post on CSS-Tricks (Using Web Fonts at All: Point/Counterpoint), citing both Adams and his blog post about webfonts:

Adam Morse makes the case against webfonts: [...]
I’ve argued in their defense. Also, I reveal a lot of my own biases as a type geek: [...]

This apparently didn't sit right with Adam, which is why he asked Chris Coyier to take down the article. Which he didn't agree to because the article is not breaking the law and not in bad taste.

To get the whole picture, make sure to read the complete Twitter conversation.

That's it so far as my research into the current webfont drama goes. I can't and don't want to take a side. I can see valid arguments on both sides. Make up your own mind - maybe on a per-project basis?

Martin Wolf

Hi, I’m Martin Wolf, a Freelance Frontend Web Developer from Germany.
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