I Don’t Like Web Design

The déjà vu is strong with this one

A bunch of letter tiles just PILED on the floor. Just PILED! What, are they hording tiles? Can't they clean up after themselves?
Photo by Raphael Schaller on Unsplash

I don’t much care for web design.

I realized today. I was learning how to present fonts and colors using CSS. Then I clicked.

I don’t care.

If I go to a website and find the information I’m looking for, I don’t much care what it looks like. I mean I appreciate it, but I don’t much care. If I find something truly profound on a site, I will share it with my friends—ugly or not.

The information is key. That is what I care about. I doubt I’m alone here.

A clean web design helps, but at the end of the day, I don’t care if a heading is red or “chartreuse”. I don’t care if a headline is using the font “Comic Sans” or “I Hate Lazy People Roman LT 3000”. In fact, I might find the “Comic Sans” title to be ironic. It might make my smile.

#comicSansForever

#comicSansForever (not in Comic Sans font)
Texture by Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash. Bitchin’ hash tag added by author in PhotoShop. It’s not written in Comic Sans. Isn’t that ironic? Doncha think? A little toooooo ironic. Yeah, I really do think. It’s like rain, on your wedding day. It’s like a free riiiiiiiiiide, when you already paid. That’s part of the song Ironic, by Alanis Morissette. You probably haven’t heard it. It was a thing.

There are hard-core designers out there with very strong opinions on how a page should be presented.

I’m not one of those people. Yes, I meant “those people.” I used to work with designers. They get paid a lot of money to have very strong ideas. They “sell” those ideas to clients. They are compensated for their confidence.

I don’t wanna be one of those people.

Why today’s lesson created an epiphany

I know my HTML. I know that the “b” tag makes something bold. I know the “strong” tag also makes text bold. Now, you’re telling me that the “font-weight” attribute in CSS makes copy… bold.

The end-user does not care which method you used to make a word bold. The end-user probably won’t notice at all.

I want to be a programmer. I need to be aware of how information is styled. I’m a curious guy, so I also want to know why information is styled a certain way.

But let’s face it: At the end of the day, I will not be trusted to style a website. I could do a decent job. I would probably emulate a cool design I had seen elsewhere.

I won’t ever be asked to design a web page.

Maybe I’ll be a project manager. That person doesn’t even have to know how to code, design, or program. He or she knows how. He or she knows it is important to do those jobs correctly. A project manager knows the right questions to ask a team. A PM knows how to talk to clients and the boss. A PM turns a bunch of gun-slingin’ cowboys into a team to be feared.

A project manager is more of a Jack-of-all-Trades.

Like me.

So, I might end up as a programmer. I might end up as a Project Manager. I might end up running my own company. That has the same skill set as a PM.

God only knows.

I have a couple ideas I would like to run with in the future (more than a couple, actually). We’ll see what happens.

A bunch of type tiles stuck in little boxes. Help! HELP! I'm stuck in a box! Why can't the letters go free?
Photo by Natalia Y on Unsplash

Bunny Trail: The Font Foundries of Madness

I know how to declare a “font stack” in CSS. I know how to import a font using “@font-face”. The book showed a couple other ways to use fonts in your design. That was interesting, but one was for Flash. That’s out, Flash is dead. One was based on VML. That’s dead.

Ok, so we’re back to the two ways I already knew.

I’m also very big on having permissions for using stuff. There’s three reasons for this:

  • Getting Paid. I like getting paid. I like others to get paid. I don’t much care for designing type, but it’s important. I like other people out there to get paid for liking type a lot. That goes for artists of all types: Illustrators, Authors, Programmers, etc. Like the song, “If you like it then you bettah put a ring on it.” If you use something, you should pay for it (but that’s a Bunny Trail inside a Bunny Trail—Inception!)
  • Not Getting Sued. I like not getting sued. I’m poor. Getting sued would wipe me out. Giving and getting credit keeps me out of the courthouse.
  • Looking Professional. If you see an article online with proper links and captions giving credit, you give the argument more “weight.” I found some fiction online. It might have been good, but it led with a photo that I know came from a movie. There was no credit or attribution. I skipped the story. It’s just a way that the writer can say, “I don’t give a f*”

That brings us to Font Foundries. They host all these fancy-pants fonts and then charge you a fee to use them. This is has pros and cons.

Pro

  • You can use all these fancy-pants fonts. You don’t have to worry about getting sued.
  • They write the code for you. CSS code can be down-right insane when you try to account for earlier browsers and file types. A font foundry will do all that for you. Copy-and-paste the necessary code. I likes me some copy-and-paste action. MMmmmm.

Cons

  • It slows down your page load. The font is a file loaded from somewhere else. Even if that someplace is your own web server, it’s still loading an unnecessary file. You could use a font that is already pre-installed on a web browser, and it will be faster.
  • Your fancy-pants font will only work on a web browser. Every designer I worked with mocked up the first design in PhotoShop. This could be shown to a client and given to the production staff to chop up. Maybe the younglings mock up designs in web browsers now. I’m sure Adobe has a font foundry that shows fonts in PhotoShop, but I don’t want to give them any more of my foldin’ money.
  • A font foundry costs money. A designer is supremely confident, but she has to sell the idea of paying for fonts twice. She has to convince her boss to pay for a font to design with. Then she has to convince the end client to pay for a font included in the design. I promise you, the client cares very little which font you use.
  • This whole font business might go out of style. That’s one thing about reading a book that is out-of-date. You can see how quickly this whole business changes. Two methods were defined that are already obsolete. The book came out in2014. It’s 2020. That’s an insane speed of change!

I’m out.

“Screw you guys. I’m going home.” –Cartman, South Park

If I encounter a designer who really wants to use a particular font, more power to her. If I get to choose, I’ll use Georgia for body copy and Helvetica for headings.

Done and done. I don’t have to spend hours crawling through typefaces.

Georgia and Helvetica.

Design: Perfected. #designPerfected

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