Category Archives: Google Fonts


rochesterI told myself I’d only review text fonts, but every once in a while I come across a lovely dis­play font that sings cross browser… and I’ve decided if I’m going to take the time to test and approve, I might as well share.

I recently tested and used Rochester for a client. She’s an inde­pen­dent children’s illus­tra­tor who’s been in the busi­ness for decades. Due to her illus­tra­tion style, I needed a font that ref­er­enced hand­writ­ing, showed a slightly quirky side, and didn’t feel too ele­gant or messy. It also needed to work with all of the let­ters in her name, and the con­nec­tions needed to… well… con­nect properly.

Rochester has a ver­ti­cal stress and sig­nif­i­cant con­trast between thick and thin strokes. The strong ver­ti­cal strokes and the round bowl give the font a slightly “bub­bly,” slightly dig­i­tal feel­ing — not overly ele­gant. I have to admit, I don’t care for Rochester’s low­er­case z or f, but luck­ily my client’s site uses nei­ther in the head­ing. When I tested it cross browser, the spac­ing, con­nec­tions, strokes, and curves all remained lovely.

Rochester comes in 1 style (as all great hand­writ­ing fonts do). It is avail­able via Google Web Fonts.

Filed under Display, Google Fonts |

Open Sans


View the web font spec­i­men sheet.

A human­ist sans serif font designed by Steve Mat­te­son.

Open Sans was designed with an upright stress, but still feels human­ist due to its open aper­tures, double-decker g, and human­ist italic. It has a sim­i­lar x-height to Ver­dana, but has a lighter stroke weight, and even more clar­ity (leg­i­bil­ity) at smaller sizes. The bold feels a bit heavy, but retains leg­i­bil­ity. There is also a semi-bold for use when the bold is too heavy.

Open Sans comes in 10 styles. It holds up well cross browser. The whole fam­ily is avail­able on both Type­kit and Google Web Fonts.

Filed under 10 Styles, Google Fonts, Humanist Sans Serif, TypeKit |



View the web font spec­i­men sheet.

A sans serif open license font fam­ily, funded by Canon­i­cal and imple­mented by Dal­ton Maag.

Ubuntu has some quirky ele­ments, such as the cor­ners cre­ated where shoul­ders meet stems on the let­ters a, r, n, m, h, p, q, and u. The quirks don’t under­mine the over­all tex­ture, rhythm, or read­abil­ity of the font, but it does give text a slightly “futur­is­tic” feel which may or may not be appro­pri­ate for a project.

Even with the “futur­is­tic” feel­ing, I cat­e­go­rize Ubuntu as a human­ist sans because it has gen­er­ous aper­tures, bowls with implied stress (on the b, d, q, p), a curved foot on the low­er­case l, and a rel­a­tively human­ist italic.

Ubuntu’s x-height is slightly smaller than Ver­dana, yet holds up very nicely at smaller sizes due to gen­er­ous aper­tures and bowls. The bold weight is a bit heavy for my taste, though it is still leg­i­ble on screen. While a semi-bold is avail­able, it is not heavy enough to cre­ate a good con­trast to the reg­u­lar weight.

Ubuntu comes in 8 styles. I’ve tested the usual 4 plus the semi-bold, and they hold up beau­ti­fully cross browser. The whole fam­ily is avail­able on both Google Web Fonts and Type­kit.

Filed under 8 Styles, Google Fonts, Humanist Sans Serif, TypeKit |

PT Serif


View the web font spec­i­men sheet.

A serif font designed by Alexan­dra Korolkova, Olga Umpel­eva, and Vladimir Yefi­mov and released by ParaType in 2010.

PT Serif is pri­mar­ily a Tran­si­tional font; it feels more “ide­al­ized” than “writ­ten.” It has more con­trast between thick and thin strokes than you’ll see in an Old Style font, and it has a ver­ti­cal stress. Ter­mi­nals and ser­ifs feel more styl­ized than pen-formed.

PT Serif has a slightly larger x-height than Geor­gia, and holds up well at smaller sizes. It also pairs beau­ti­fully with its com­pan­ion font, PT Sans.

PT Serif holds up beau­ti­fully across browsers. It has the usual four styles and weights, and is avail­able via Google Web­fonts, Type­kit, and FontSquir­rel.

Filed under 4 Styles, FontSquirrel, Google Fonts, Transitional (Serif), TypeKit |



View the web font spec­i­men sheet.

A serif font by Eben Sorkin. I cat­e­go­rize Mer­ri­weather as an “Other Serif” font, because it does not fall neatly into any of the gen­eral his­toric cat­e­gories com­monly used to describe serif type.

Mer­ri­weather grace­fully mixes-and-matches var­i­ous his­toric approaches to font design. Head ser­ifs and some ter­mi­nals feel pen-formed, while foot ser­ifs are rem­i­nis­cent of del­i­cate slab ser­ifs. It has a large x-height, and gen­er­ous aper­tures. It is extremely read­able at smaller sizes, and the bolder weights are well bal­anced and don’t get too heavy on screen. I’ve spent some time using this font this sum­mer, and it is one of my favorite fonts for web text.

Mer­ri­weather cur­rently has 4 weights avail­able via google web­fonts. There is not an italic yet, but Sorkin’s blog promises one is in the works. As well as a sans serif ver­sion! Keep an eye on this font as it devel­ops! It’s read­able, beau­ti­ful, and holds up well cross browser.

Filed under "Other Serif", 4 Styles, Google Fonts |