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Aug 25, 2017

On web fonts

Things might look a little bit different around here since the last time you checked. If you've been checking.

I recently read this article on Hacker Noon. The basic gist was: if a web font (a) isn't crucial to your brand, (b) isn't easier to read, (c) leads to a Flash of Unstyled Content (FOUT), or (d) doesn't necessarily make you happier, you're better off just using a system font.

I think a lot of people hear 'system font' and think of Verdana or Times New Roman and worry that their site is going to start looking like an IKEA catalogue. That's what I thought. Conflating system fonts with the reviled mid-2000s 'web-safe fonts'. But system fonts are a bit more subtle than that, because you're used to looking at them. They're baked into the OS you're using. We're not talking Tahoma and Georgia. This is Apple's San Fransisco, this is Microsoft's Segoe, or Google's Roboto. The good ones.

I was using Google Fonts' Merriweather. It's a handsome font. But it was also another request that my server had to make, and another handful of milliseconds, for... what?

'Use a web font' is my default setting. But there's no reason for it.

So I stripped away that extra request. My page is imperceptibly faster. Maybe it looks a little sportier since it's all sans-serifs now. I'm not going to host a motherfuckingwebsite.com-style site--it's an exercise in style more than a legitimate technical template.

But I don't like to stray too far off.