Nice Web Type

Nice Web Type is one place for web typography, following experiments, advancements, and best practices in typesetting web text. Handcrafted by Tim Brown, Type Manager for Adobe Typekit.

Twitter: @nicewebtype
Dribbble: timbrown

Bringing thoughtful people together with modular scales

The modular scale calculator I built is a useful, straightforward tool. Visitors stay for 28 minutes on average — and many people stay for more than an hour at a time, referencing calculated numbers and linked resources in the footer.

Now, I am offering a limited sponsorship opportunity to thoughtful products and services that I think modular scale users will like: $100 USD per month for a short message in the footer at I will mention the sponsorship to followers of @nicewebtype and permanently link to each sponsor from this blog post.

My thanks to our generous sponsors:

  • Gridset — Gridset takes the headache out of responsive layouts on the web. Build grids based on classic proportions in minutes.
  • Typecast — Design for the reader by putting type first: Create web-ready type systems with real content using simple visual controls. Export production-ready HTML & CSS or share by URL.
  • Codex — Codex the journal of letterforms is the beautiful, best-selling print magazine for graphic designers, teachers, students, and everyone who has any interest in fonts, graphic design, lettering, and typography.

Emmet LiveStyle

From the makers of Emmet:

A plugin for live bi-directional (editor↔browser) CSS editing

Watch the video, and welcome to the future.


Scott Kellum wrote a Sass function to find the context of deeply nested percentages. More info here. I could see this being very helpful for, say, typesetting hanging subheads.

The In-Between

Mark Boulton:

As you’re building out your responsive design, you should be focussed on watching how the content adapts as the viewport changes. Some things I look out for:

Good list.

On messes and scales

David Galbraith (via Kottke):

I created mess around myself, the kind of chaos that would be very dangerous in an operating theater but which is synonymous with artists’ studios, and in that mess I edited the accidents. By increasing the amount of mess I had freed things up and increased the possibilities, I had maximised the adjacent possible and was able to create the appearance of inventing new things by editing the mistakes which appeared novel and interesting.

This is how I use modular scales. Measurement suggestions are my way into a mess. (See also, “That’s right, I improvised.”)

8 Faces, A List Apart, and The Pastry Box Project

Yours truly, elsewhere:

Pocket Guide to Combining Typefaces

I wrote a short book about combining typefaces, and it’s available to download today from Five Simple Steps. You can buy it for less than a cup of fancy coffee. And if you do buy it, I hope you find it useful. I worked hard to make it worth reading and referencing.

Advice about combining typefaces is hard to give, because success depends on many factors — the text, your design goals, your audience, and reader contexts, as well as the type. It takes scrutiny and empathy and wisdom, and honing those qualities takes time and practice.

So yes, the book dives into details about texture, rhythm, proportion, and shape that contribute to compatibility among typefaces; however, it also outlines a process for efficient practice, points to many relevant resources that are worth checking out, and provides a series of brief critiques to help you make sense of the many conditions that make for successful type combinations.

“Pocket Guide” is a great name for this kind of short book.

Thanks to the folks at Five Simple Steps for offering me this opportunity, and for working hard to turn my manuscript into a finished product. Thanks to Stephen Coles for his editing contributions. Thanks to Mandy Brown and Bryan Mason for their advice. And finally, thanks to my wife, Eileen, for her support.

This is my first writing for sale — my first anything for sale. It’s exciting, but also terrifying, to put a price (even a small price) on my efforts. But if folks seem to like it, maybe I’ll do more.

Setting Type for User Interfaces

Billy Whited for Typekit:

In user interfaces, it’s common to encounter screens that are nothing more, typographically speaking, than a collection of singular words displayed in isolation from one another. Examples of this abound: web forms, navigation menus, control panels, etc. This is a key difference between primarily content-driven web sites and task-oriented web applications. So, why does it matter?


‘A design process that may actually start with code’

Patric King:

I actually don’t think makers of design tools have considered that there are web-native designers now who literally cannot use traditional (read: Adobe) tools to make their design work in ways that they’ve always been taught. There’s a different mindset for designing objects on the web that should influence how they’re created for print, but can’t — because there just aren’t any tools bridging the two media.

‘The trick is simply to get going’

Trent Walton with some great advice about getting started with responsive web design. I’m glad Trent included this part about content-based breakpoints:

It’s good to plan, design, and test with all sorts of devices in mind, but it’s become standard to let media queried breakpoints be defined by content/layout rather than any specific device. Whenever things don’t fit or hierarchy breaks, add a media query.

See also: ‘There is no breakpoint’.

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Combining Typefaces


I wrote a small book about combining typefaces. Buy it for less than the cost of a fancy beverage.