WPDFD Issue #23/typography/advanced/ch1_1.htm - February 01, 2000

Each computer platform has its own utilities for files compression that can shrink the sizes of files for faster transmission over the internet. On Windows, there is the ubiquitous .ZIP format which has been around since the early days of MS-DOS. For MacUsers, Stuffit DeLuxe has the throne. Since we all use these tools on an everyday basis, either intentionally, or in the background, and sometimes need to use both, I thought that it might be a good idea to see how the two systems square-up against one another.

The Frame Game

by Joe Gillespie Ah, frames. You either love them, or you hate them! Although the concept has been with us for some time, there are people who use them quite happily and others who, hands raised, back away in mortal fear. One of the main excuses for not using them is that some browsers can't handle them. That may have been true in the past, but those browsers are in such a minority now they can be safely ignored - unless, of course, you know that a significant proportion of your readers are using old browsers or surfing on mobile phones!

What's New

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Good typography is just as important on a Web page as it is in any other medium. The fact that it appears on a computer screen and not on a piece of paper is immaterial; it should still be pleasing to look at and easy to read. In every situation where type is used — in publishing, signage, packaging, television, etc. — designers have to adapt their techniques to suit the medium. A headline style that works just fine in a magazine spread would not necessarily work on a poster.


On-screen typography is far from being an exact science, but just like its counterpart in meatspace it is intended to get someone with a limited attention span to grasp your message. As with any medium, some fundamental cognitive rules still apply, since basically the message is still rendered in the reader's mind, the medium is just a means of transportation. And there are certain factors that can either improve or worsen the reader's experience or success - factors that have been known for centuries and which are so basic that they apply to any medium, be it dead trees or CRTs.