H697 Seeking Out New Worlds

I’m beginning to think this must be what immersion classes are like for beginners in a new language. Or perhaps what is is like to arrive in a new country having learned only a few phrases out of a dusty guidebook. We’ve been dropped into the land of design and code with a few resources and hope we land on our feet.
Door to the sea
I feel I should point out a few things about this semi-linguistic journey. First, design and code are languages which get you to the same place, but not in the same way. I think we’re on the border of France and Belgium (and no waffles in sight!), or maybe traveling through Central America. In order to get by, we have to figure out both languages more or less simultaneously. Prior knowledge helps, but only so far. I’ve known a smattering of HTML since the mid-1990s, but CSS is completely new as are the professional rules of design.

Thus far I’ve managed some of the jargon. I’ve successfully used @font-family on the beta version of my digital resume, without any cost thanks to the League of Moveable Type and their free opensource/public domain fonts.

It’s fun, but I’ll admit to some concern. Will the availability of all these fonts mean that people who stick with Verdana (named with a hint of rancor in this week’s training videos), Trebuchet, and Georgia are seen as somehow falling down on the job? Certainly, Gillenwater makes a good case for not using webfonts for body copy, for reasons of accessibility and readability. There is something to be said for  using a clean, universally hosted, accessible font for body copy, and keeping the funky fonts in the headers.

Speaking of funky fonts, I think I’m due to lose another half hour (or more) browsing webfonts. After all, visiting the marketplace is a great way to learn about a new country, right?