Web Typography

A handbook for designing beautiful and effective responsive typography

Richard Rutter

Typography is what comes between the author and the reader. This is as true on the web as it is in any other medium. If a text has anything at all significant to say, it needs a typographer’s care, which will in turn be repaid by the reader’s attention. If you design websites or use CSS then you are a typographer whether you know it or not.

This book is a practical guide and companion reference to all aspects of typography on the web. It deftly combines implement­ation details with typographic theory, and is ideal for designers, developers and anyone else involved in the process of creating a website.

  • Download sample chapter (Designing Paragraphs 0.7Mb PDF)
    1. We are all Typographers
      • Why web typography really does matter
      • Embracing the medium
      • Preparing the ground
    2. Setting Type to be Read
      • How we read
      • The amazing em (and friends)
      • Designing paragraphs: line length
      • Designing paragraphs: text size
      • Designing paragraphs: line spacing
      • Alignment, justification and hyphenation
      • Responsive paragraphs
    3. Typographic Detail
      • Symbols, signs and accents
      • Ligatures and abbreviations
      • Hierarchy and scale
      • Meaning and semantics
      • Numerals and tables
      • Tracking and kerning
      • Headlines and impact
      • Vertical rhythm
      • Arrangement and composition
    4. Choosing and Using Fonts
      • How fonts render on screens
      • Practical and pragmatic considerations
      • Knowing and browsing type
      • Selecting typefaces for body text
      • Selecting typefaces for display text
      • Selecting typefaces for functional text
      • Combining typefaces
      • Using web fonts
      • Building a library
    5. Final Thoughts
      • Communicating your design
      • If you read nothing else, read this

Follow @webtypography for updates.

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What people are saying

It’s THE book to buy. Stunning. An instant classic.

— Andy Clarke, author of Hardboiled CSS

To say this is “The Elements of Typographic Style” for the Web would be inadequate: it is more informative, less snarky, and equally timeless as Bringhurst’s book. Web Typography is the most comprehensive, understandable, and eloquent introduction to typographic design that I have ever read.

Many books claim to be an “instant classic”; Rutter’s Web Typography fulfils its definition. I highly recommend it to anyone working with CSS, for this is the guidebook that the CSS3 Fonts and CSS3 Text specifications have always wanted. But I also recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about typography, for the Web is one of the primary mediums for text in the modern world, and Rutter explains not only how to set type for the Web, but how to think about typography in its context. (Read full review)

— Elika J. Etemad (AKA fantasai), editor of the CSS Text Module

Rutter is adept at explaining and demonstrating the fine points of typographic composition, and doing so in the context of responsive design for the web. His writing is fluid, direct, and informal; even when he’s making a technical point, it’s never less than clear.

This well-made, well-printed 330-page book is also well designed and well thought out. The organizational hierarchy is easy to follow, the illustrations are clear and to the point, and the book is full of useful cross-references.

You could quite easily use Rutter’s book as an introductory guide to typography, not just to typography on the web. Its advice is grounded in principles drawn from five centuries of typography in print, and it’s applicable to any form of visual communication that uses words. (Read full review)

— John D. Berry, editor and typographer

Without whom

Thank you to everyone who funded this book on Kickstarter (your name is in the book).