marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)

That is not to be taken as a compliment. There's something visually confusing about Google's sans-serif fonts, like Droids Sans, the love child of Georgia and Verdana. I mean, semi-flat ys and ultra-curvy gs in one typeface? Makes my head explode.

Most of Google's serif fonts look like Georgia, Times New Roman, or both, but the ones that look the most like TNR are either too tall, short, wide, narrow, light or dark (yes, I'm Goldilocks, nice to meet ya) to work as font-size-adjusted replacements (and by "font-size-adjusted", I mean Firefox's font-size-adjust property, which I'm using with Elegant Grunge to keep Trebuchet MS from blowing up when paired with Segoe UI). Normally I don't use font-size-adjust if I can help it, though, because it only works with Firefox and often means further adjusting a handful of elements to work with imported fonts.

Google Fell fonts (many of which are serif) are another disaster. They seem perfect for the elements I'm using font-family: Times New Roman | font-variant: small-caps with on this layout, but when I install them, I see they often have a grungy, "text erase" feature (like someone nibbled on their edges? or like they were soaked in acid?) that makes them more well-suited to Elegant Grunge than my other layout (problem with that being, I don't use serif with Elegant Grunge simply because everyone else does - it's boring and not grungy at all).

I think there are Google fonts that can look quite good when someone with an eye for where to use them and what fonts to pair with them does the placement (for instance, mad props to [personal profile] dee for Cabin in titles and elsewhere on her blog), but I also think Google fonts are such a mess overall that using them has become an art that takes practice and either a keen eye, an intuitive gift - or both - to pull off with any degree of success.

While I'm thinking of fonts, it seems Microsoft blew a big chance to shine with Vista fonts - most of them are quite beautiful (even the typewriter fonts, which are much smoother than Courier/Courier New/Monotype), but by not keeping enough sizing and kerning similarities between Vista and XP fonts, they probably lost some takers. Without font-size-adjust - which exists in just one browser that not everyone uses - you can't just mix and match them wily-nily with XP fonts (you have to scale the Vista fonts upward in size to compensate for how much larger XP fonts are, which results in XP users with no Vista fonts installed looking at massively gargantuan text).

So if Google fonts are a mess, and Vista fonts almost consistently ruin it for XP users, the only answer is to use @font-face with other free fonts, but all free fonts have the same drawbacks (Google's included): 1) non-OS fonts must be downloaded, which often means page lag 2) downloaded fonts usually don't load until the rest of the page does, giving you that curious "flash-on-page-load" effect that mars many otherwise attractive, well-designed pages, 3) the best non-Windows/non-OS fonts often cost money, which I feel is unfair to people who see a nice font, then realize they can't afford to "buy" it for their own personal use, and 4) while it often feels like there are too many free fonts floating around (a valid issue, since it can be hard for many of us to make decisions), most of the ones I've seen look like crap.

So if the few hundred free fonts I've seen look like crap (or just aren't right for the job, depending on what the job is), and there are thousands more to choose from, the law of averages says most of the ones I haven't seen will also look like crap (or also not be right for the job), so I'm wasting my time - like looking for a needle in a haystack.

So, no, I wasn't particularly fond of Google's Oswald with the other layout I'm working on (the imported font it featured out of the box), but Times New Roman is probably as adventurous as it'll get for now.