Tuesday, March 09, 2004

The Bitstream Vera Fonts are superb

In April 2003, Bitstream donated the Bitstream Vera font family to the GNOME project. Carefully designed, with large x-heights and clean lines, these fonts are superb for onscreen reading, and render better on my machines than the Core Web fonts from Microsoft Typography. In my opinion, Bitstream Vera Sans clearly beats Verdana; Bitstream Vera Serif is competitive with Georgia; and my new favorite monospaced font is now Bitstream Vera Sans Mono (replacing my longtime favorite, Lucida Console).

Furthermore, unlike Microsoft's fonts, the Bitstream fonts may be freely repackaged and bundled with other operating systems and software products (some enterprising people have figured out a legal way around Microsoft's restrictions, but it's still a pain).

A humble request, which I blog here in the hope that Google might someday bring it to the eyes of a web designer: if you design web pages, then target both the Microsoft core fonts and Bitstream Vera. The free license and superior rendering with freetype libraries mean that your Vera-friendly design will look good on more people's browsers. It's reasonably easy --- Vera's quite similar in "look and feel" to Verdana. Just add "Bitstream Vera Sans", "Bitstream Vera Serif", or "Bitstream Vera Sans Mono", as appropriate, to the "font-family" declarations in your CSS.

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