Variable Fonts and the Future of Web Design

The majority of content on the web is words—and more than half of web browsing happens on mobile screens. It follows then that the way we set our words has a bigger impact than ever on design, usability, and brand differentiation. But while typography is clearly the most important aspect of great design and user experience, it can’t come at the expense of performance or we risk our great designs never being seen. Variable fonts are here, and will change everything: with a single font file that can scale in size, width, weight and even x-height—exactly as the type designer envisioned. Everything from super-fine-line delicacy to the chunkiest slab headlines; wide widths in banners and slightly narrower body copy for better line lengths on mobile devices. All controllable with CSS.

If type is the voice of our words, that voice just became a chorus. Jason will look at the technology behind variable fonts, how to use them on the web, their timeline for release, and most importantly: their impact on the dynamic range of our designs. He’ll also look at how this could impact how you design—with design tools built into the content management system itself. This could enable a whole new layer of design that is specific to the content rather than generalized for anything, without requiring custom code every time.

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