SXSW is going to be Bitchin’ and Glyphin’

After reading the article A Not-So-Sweet Tale of Digital Type on the AIGA website I knew that there was a SXSW Panel in the making. The article raises many interesting issues that I could debate at length, but Andrew Twigg very specifically made a statement that caught my attention…

I had built my site using semantic code, meaning that content is structured into different levels … and the structure of the document has meaning…

All of this is good because it allows the website to be indexed more easily by search engines. It also means that people with web accessibility issues will be able to read the page content more easily…

And it also means that the type can be a bit ugly.”


Ugly, O rly?

The statement that a semantic website = ugly type just did not sit so well with me. I mean there are TONS of beautiful sites out there that have semantic markup, some relying solely on “web-friendly” fonts. I believe strongly that its not the typeface you use, but how you use it that makes someone a really strong typographer. I made sure to point a few nice examples out in the comments, but the article got me thinking about the current state of digital type and where it should be heading.

So when SXSW panel proposals rolled around I thought to myself “What if I get a bunch of these folks together who really do pull off successful web typography, have them talk about how they do it” and remarkably … they were in.

One of the major challenges about purposing a SXSW panel is that it happens about 6 months in advance of the conference, so plenty of interesting stuff can happen regarding a topic in the meantime, and this year… typography has been a pretty hot topic. If web typography had ears, they would be burning, because everyone has been talking about it…here is a little taste of the W3 minutes from their October meeting

With so much to cover we hope that we can inspire designers to leverage their options for creating better web typography now, but also debate where web typography needs to head in the future.  There is a lot of really cool stuff happening at SXSW this year, and just as last year, I will try to update my flickr feed real time with cool iphone shots of what is going on. Not familiar with SXSW? Check out my slew of previous posts…  If you will be attending, I hope to see you there!


  1. — March 9, 2009

  2. Samantha

    — March 9, 2009

  3. — March 10, 2009

  4. — March 10, 2009

  5. Stephen Bush

    — March 15, 2009