Verdana

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Tim W, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. Tim W

    Tim W Guest

    I am making a site for a small business. They already have a logo and
    letterhead which uses Verdana, so I should use it on the site really.

    A quick web search to get the right font-family declarations threw up:

    1 statements that Verdana is designed for onscreen use and is totally
    readable and suitable.
    2 statements that Verdana is no good as a web font because of size
    issues eg it is bigger than most fonts
    3 advice to not mix it with other fonts
    4 advice to mix it with other fonts using it say, only for headings but
    not for paras

    As usual we struggle in the deluge of poor quality information off of
    the internet. What are the problems with Verdana in practice?

    Tim w
    Tim W, Aug 24, 2012
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. 2012-08-24 12:26, Tim W wrote:

    > I am making a site for a small business. They already have a logo and
    > letterhead which uses Verdana, so I should use it on the site really.


    A logo that uses Verdana? Not very imaginative. A logo is a specific
    typographic form of a name or an abbreviation. How specific can Verdana be?

    Just because a logo and a letterhead use Verdana doesn't mean that copy
    text needs to use it.

    > A quick web search to get the right font-family declarations threw up:
    >
    > 1 statements that Verdana is designed for onscreen use and is totally
    > readable and suitable.


    The first part is correct. The second part is partly subjective, partly
    technology-dependent. Perhaps most importantly, Verdana looks good in
    some sizes only.

    > 2 statements that Verdana is no good as a web font because of size
    > issues eg it is bigger than most fonts


    That's basically correct.

    > 3 advice to not mix it with other fonts


    Debatable. Large-size Verdana in headings could be mixed with just about
    anything.

    > 4 advice to mix it with other fonts using it say, only for headings
    > but not for paras


    Yeah.

    > As usual we struggle in the deluge of poor quality information off of
    > the internet. What are the problems with Verdana in practice?


    It wins virtually nothing in comparison with Arial. So how many
    disadvantages you need?

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Jukka K. Korpela, Aug 24, 2012
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Tim W

    dorayme Guest

    In article <k17hbm$82f$>,
    Tim W <> wrote:

    > I am making a site for a small business. They already have a logo and
    > letterhead which uses Verdana, so I should use it on the site really.
    >
    > A quick web search to get the right font-family declarations threw up:
    >
    > 1 statements that Verdana is designed for onscreen use and is totally
    > readable and suitable.
    > 2 statements that Verdana is no good as a web font because of size
    > issues eg it is bigger than most fonts


    If you need to use Verdana for a heading, go ahead. There are no
    disasters awaiting you. The problems come mainly with body text. There
    is no end to past discussions. Many come to mind.

    <http://sbpoley.home.xs4all.nl/webmatters/verdana.html>

    It is very readable and appealing enough in small screen print, there
    is more spacing between the letters than many other fonts.

    --
    dorayme
    dorayme, Aug 24, 2012
    #3
  4. Tim W wrote:
    > I am making a site for a small business. They already have a logo and
    > letterhead which uses Verdana, so I should use it on the site really.
    >
    > A quick web search to get the right font-family declarations threw up:
    >
    > 1 statements that Verdana is designed for onscreen use and is totally
    > readable and suitable.
    > 2 statements that Verdana is no good as a web font because of size
    > issues eg it is bigger than most fonts
    > 3 advice to not mix it with other fonts
    > 4 advice to mix it with other fonts using it say, only for headings
    > but not for paras
    >
    > As usual we struggle in the deluge of poor quality information off of
    > the internet. What are the problems with Verdana in practice?



    As others have said, the "crime" is using it and then compensating for
    Verdana oversize appearance by doing:


    body {
    font-size: 75%; ...

    because if the user does not have Verdana on their system that have to
    deal with a page with microfont. A page can still be read if the font is
    larger, but the reverse is not always true! I suggest selecting fonts
    that are similar in appearance when selecting alternatives and ones most
    users are most likely to have installed.

    If downloadable fonts ever become standardize than maybe this issue will
    be moot.


    --
    Take care,

    Jonathan
    -------------------
    LITTLE WORKS STUDIO
    http://www.LittleWorksStudio.com
    Jonathan N. Little, Aug 24, 2012
    #4
  5. On Fri, 24 Aug 2012, Tim W wrote:

    > What are the problems with Verdana in practice?


    The main problem is something like

    body {font-family: Verdana; font-size: 80%}

    Do not specify a font-size for BODY or P.

    --
    In memoriam Alan J. Flavell
    http://www.alanflavell.org.uk/charset/browsers-fonts.html
    Andreas Prilop, Aug 24, 2012
    #5
  6. Tim W

    Joy Beeson Guest

    On Fri, 24 Aug 2012 18:22:09 +0200, Andreas Prilop
    <> wrote:

    > Do not specify a font-size for BODY or P.


    And whatever you do, don't let the site go live until you've clicked
    ctl+ at least five times on each page.

    Not everybody with money to spend has perfect eyesight. And not
    everybody with perfect eyesight likes to hunch up close to the
    monitor.

    --
    Joy Beeson
    joy beeson at comcast dot net
    Joy Beeson, Aug 25, 2012
    #6
  7. Tim W

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    Joy Beeson <> wrote:

    > And whatever you do, don't let the site go live until you've clicked
    > ctl+ at least five times on each page.


    Don't forget the much sidelined ctrl-, some surprises can appear!

    Anyway, there is a distinction between what happens when you zoom
    under Zoom Text Only and when not under. It is amazing how often even
    quite otherwise competent authors almost seem unaware of the
    distinction. It is not a distinction that is evident in all browsers.

    --
    dorayme
    dorayme, Aug 25, 2012
    #7
  8. Beauregard T. Shagnasty, Sep 9, 2012
    #8
  9. 2012-09-09 20:06, Alfred Molon wrote:

    > In article <k17hbm$82f$>, Tim W says...
    >> What are the problems with Verdana in practice?

    >
    > I don't know. My site uses verdana.


    Your site http://www.molon.de/ is a good demonstration of the problems
    of typical use of Verdana:
    1) font set to small, fixed sizes (13px, 10px), obviusly because Verdana
    looks bad in common default font sizes
    2) too small line height (especially for overly long lines)
    3) poor color contrast in light on dark texts (presumably caused by
    author's wrong assumptions about Verdana as very readable)
    4) paragraphs justified on both sides (though _this_ mistake might be
    independent of Verdana).

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Jukka K. Korpela, Sep 9, 2012
    #9
  10. 2012-09-09 22:15, Alfred Molon wrote:

    > It's as big as the fonts on most sites in the web.


    Most sites do foolish things, with fonts too.

    >> 2) too small line height (especially for overly long lines)

    >
    > There is no line-height parameter in CSS


    You mean you don't even try to set line height, thereby accepting
    whatever is the default for Verdana. And it's too small, especially for
    long lines.

    > Again please be more specific and explain where you see the poor colour
    > contrast? When my font was #fff I received complaints that the contrast
    > was too strong,


    That's because people did not understand why they are having problems.
    This is understandable. But _authors_ should know better. Light-color
    text on dark background for copy text is simply a bad idea with bad
    consequences.

    >> 4) paragraphs justified on both sides (though _this_ mistake might be
    >> independent of Verdana).

    >
    > That's a design choice, not a mistake.


    A wrong choice, thereby a mistake.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Jukka K. Korpela, Sep 9, 2012
    #10
  11. 2012-09-09 22:52, Alfred Molon wrote:

    > Please be specific with your criticism. Broad statements unfortunately
    > do not help.


    I am not giving you criticism; I am merely pointing out some of the
    reasons why Verdana should not be used, illustrating them with your
    site, which you presented as an example of Verdana use.

    Criticism of web sites is seldom useful. People responsible for sites
    usually strongly resist criticism - they may ask for criticism, but what
    they really want is appraisal plus some minor fixes that they can
    understand and implement without thinking much and without even
    considering any real change of the design.

    But people who are just planning sites can learn from other people's
    mistakes, if they are pointed out strong enough. Admittedly, I was much
    too smooth and soft here, as usual, but I was focusing on a relatively
    isolated problem, Verdana.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Jukka K. Korpela, Sep 9, 2012
    #11
  12. Tim W

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    Alfred Molon <> wrote:

    > Please be specific with your criticism. Broad statements unfortunately
    > do not help.


    There is not a lot of merely continuous body text on your site (at a
    casual glance) so the sky is not going to fall in if you use Verdana
    and all your less than white on almost black and justify your text and
    so on and so on. Your site is an interesting framework for showing
    your pictures.

    But my sympathies are with the comments made by others so far in the
    thread in that they are saying what is a good idea or not a good idea
    in general, what is good practice, what is not.

    For what it is worth, and specifically, I generally have to click up
    at least one notch of text size to feel comfortable noting points of
    interest (not even continuous reading) on your pages. If the text was
    #fff it would be better for me (given that black on white, my
    favourite is not on offer). The more you grey the text on black, the
    more the black seems to bleed into it, #ccc on almost #000 is really
    simply too risky and probably based obn too small a sample of your
    feedback.

    btw:

    body {background-color: #002; margin: 0;}
    body, table, tr, th, td, p, blockquote, li, ul, div { font-size: 13px;
    color: #ccc; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; }

    The margin of zero on BODY as a separate listing is understandable but
    why background colour, why not put this latter along with the
    foreground colour in the comma separated listing? Good practice is to
    put color and background-color in pairs.

    Anyway, nice website, all in all, so don't worry too much.

    --
    dorayme
    dorayme, Sep 9, 2012
    #12
  13. Tim W

    Tim Streater Guest

    In article <>,
    Alfred Molon <> wrote:

    > In article <k2ikqh$r1n$>, Jukka K. Korpela says...


    > > 3) poor color contrast in light on dark texts (presumably caused by
    > > author's wrong assumptions about Verdana as very readable)

    >
    > Again please be more specific and explain where you see the poor colour
    > contrast? When my font was #fff I received complaints that the contrast
    > was too strong, so I set it to #ccc which is more pleasing for the eye.


    Personally I dislike light text on a dark background.

    --
    Tim

    "That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed,
    nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted" -- Bill of Rights 1689
    Tim Streater, Sep 9, 2012
    #13
  14. Tim W

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    Alfred Molon <> wrote:

    > As a weakness of Verdana you have claimed that the font on my site is
    > too small. But the font on my site is in fact quite big.


    I assume you are talking to one J.Korpela. I know his habits, this is
    the time he goes down into his killfile and distributes coffee and
    cakes to the inmates, he is soft that way, he often stops to have a
    chat with some of them.

    Anyway, while he is down there, one of the main criticisms of Verdana
    is that it is a big font and authors therefore tend to set it smaller
    for aesthetic purposes. When someone does not have that font, as you
    have seen in this thread, a font that is more compact gets
    substituted. But this more compact font is then reduced by your CSS
    (which was aimed at Verdana) thus increasing the risk of being far too
    small.

    --
    dorayme
    dorayme, Sep 9, 2012
    #14
  15. Alfred Molon wrote:
    > As a weakness of Verdana you have claimed that the font on my site is
    > too small. But the font on my site is in fact quite big.


    What you seem not to understand is the font is "quite big" for *you*
    because *you* have the oversize Verdana installed on your system. So
    when your compensate bay making less than 100% it looks just right for
    *you.* But if a visitor does not have Verdana installed on their
    system, then the non-oversize font will also be reduced and then be too
    small for *them.* It is not like you can fork:

    Got Verdana?
    Then body { font-size: 80%; }
    else
    body { font-size: 100%; }

    Cannot do this in CSS


    --
    Take care,

    Jonathan
    -------------------
    LITTLE WORKS STUDIO
    http://www.LittleWorksStudio.com
    Jonathan N. Little, Sep 10, 2012
    #15
  16. Tim W

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    Alfred Molon <> wrote:

    > In article <>, dorayme
    > says...
    >
    > > There is not a lot of merely continuous body text on your site (at a
    > > casual glance) so the sky is not going to fall in if you use Verdana
    > > and all your less than white on almost black and justify your text and
    > > so on and so on. Your site is an interesting framework for showing
    > > your pictures.

    >
    > Ok, so it's not too terrible if I use verdana... Note however that the
    > travelogues have more text (http://www.molon.de/travelogues/ ).
    >
    > And regarding the interesting framework: a friend of mine switched a
    > year ago or so from a self-designed site to a wordpress-based one. He
    > cited as reasons that his focus is on photography and not web
    > programming. He is fully right, but his new wordpress-based site now
    > looks like one of those zillion other websites using wordpress. It has
    > lost its individuality.
    >


    I understand. But even with content management sites, if you put in
    the hard yards, you can get an individual look. The temptation not to
    is great though with these sites!

    ....
    > > For what it is worth, and specifically, I generally have to click up
    > > at least one notch of text size to feel comfortable noting points of
    > > interest (not even continuous reading) on your pages. If the text was
    > > #fff it would be better for me (given that black on white, my
    > > favourite is not on offer). The more you grey the text on black, the
    > > more the black seems to bleed into it, #ccc on almost #000 is really
    > > simply too risky and probably based on too small a sample of your
    > > feedback.

    >
    > Finally some more detailed feedback. I do understand your point - the
    > moment you start fiddling with the fonts, Verdana has a small problem.
    > However most people never ever touch their browser font settings.
    > As for #ccc or #fff for the text, I don't know. I got that feedback I
    > wrote about. So you would use #fff for the text?
    >


    No question about it, yes! I would be unlikely to use black background
    for so much text, but that is another issue. It is more undersatndable
    on a photographic site.

    --
    dorayme
    dorayme, Sep 10, 2012
    #16
  17. Tim W

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    Alfred Molon <> wrote:

    > In article <>, dorayme
    > says...
    > > Anyway, while he is down there, one of the main criticisms of Verdana
    > > is that it is a big font and authors therefore tend to set it smaller
    > > for aesthetic purposes. When someone does not have that font, as you
    > > have seen in this thread, a font that is more compact gets
    > > substituted. But this more compact font is then reduced by your CSS
    > > (which was aimed at Verdana) thus increasing the risk of being far too
    > > small.

    >
    > I know the argument, but I remember a statistic showing that 95% or 99%
    > of all web surfers have Verdana. I could dig out the link if you are
    > interested.
    >
    > Given the wide availability of Verdana there are only problems with this
    > font if somebody changes the default font settings on his browser. I
    > have no statistics for this, but I guess the percentage of people who do
    > so is negligibly small.
    >
    > For all that matters, for the overwhelming majority of web surfers
    > Verdana is not a problem.


    It might even be the case that the sort of people who don't have
    Verdana are the geeky sort that would not know a good picture from an
    ear of corn! <g>

    Still, given that there are some problems and for some people, there
    are a lot of other fonts that look nice that do not have these
    problems. Up to you.

    --
    dorayme
    dorayme, Sep 10, 2012
    #17
  18. Alfred Molon wrote:

    > In article <k2j97m$po3$>, Jonathan N. Little says...
    >
    >> What you seem not to understand is the font is "quite big" for *you*
    >> because *you* have the oversize Verdana installed on your system.

    >
    > Over 95% of people have Verdana:
    > http://www.redalto.com.au/support/web_safe_fonts_in_website_design.html
    > (on Windows systems > 99%)


    Sometimes I wonder how 'they' know that. What code do they use to find out
    what fonts are installed on my computer? I've certainly never told anyone
    what I chose to install, or not install, or delete...

    BTW, your cited 'reference' is another hard-to-read site like yours. It
    has a tiny grey font on white. Poor contrast. I had to press Ctrl-Plus
    three times so I could read it. See its CSS:

    body{
    font-family:Arial, sans-serif;
    font-size:11px;
    color:#1f3a51;
    }

    --
    -bts
    -This space for rent, but the price is high
    Beauregard T. Shagnasty, Sep 10, 2012
    #18
  19. Tim W

    Lewis Guest

    In message <>
    Alfred Molon <> wrote:
    > In article <k2ikqh$r1n$>, Jukka K. Korpela says...


    >> Your site http://www.molon.de/ is a good demonstration of the problems
    >> of typical use of Verdana:
    >> 1) font set to small, fixed sizes (13px, 10px), obviusly because Verdana
    >> looks bad in common default font sizes


    > It's as big as the fonts on most sites in the web. Most websites have a
    > font size smaller or as big as mine. A size larger than 13px would start
    > looking huge.


    You should *never* specify fonts in absolute sizes. Period. You are
    simply being hostile to your potential viewers. The fact that other
    webmonkeys are fucking morons is not an excuse.

    --
    When and where does this "real world" occur?!
    Lewis, Sep 10, 2012
    #19
  20. Tim W

    Lewis Guest

    In message <>
    Tim Streater <> wrote:
    > In article <>,
    > Alfred Molon <> wrote:


    >> In article <k2ikqh$r1n$>, Jukka K. Korpela says...


    >> > 3) poor color contrast in light on dark texts (presumably caused by
    >> > author's wrong assumptions about Verdana as very readable)

    >>
    >> Again please be more specific and explain where you see the poor colour
    >> contrast? When my font was #fff I received complaints that the contrast
    >> was too strong, so I set it to #ccc which is more pleasing for the eye.


    > Personally I dislike light text on a dark background.


    I like white text on black (it is how I have my terminal set, and how I
    read news), but it doesn't work on webpages. What I really hate is the
    fascination with grey text on white. So many sites do this, and it is
    asinine.


    --
    OK OK! Ready? OK. Dynamics with tension, fun and laughter for all. Honky Rock.
    A one, two, a one, two, three, four.
    Lewis, Sep 10, 2012
    #20
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. Jim Royal
    Replies:
    40
    Views:
    1,309
    Toby A Inkster
    Sep 9, 2003
  2. Mike Barnard

    The verdana 'problem'.

    Mike Barnard, Feb 20, 2008, in forum: HTML
    Replies:
    23
    Views:
    1,330
    Chris F.A. Johnson
    Feb 24, 2008
Loading...

Share This Page