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05 15 2008

Typesites has reviewed sixteen websites with interesting typography so far, and it’s come time to reevaluate what the site is now that its had some time to settle and evolve. Four months may not seem like a terribly long time, but since the idea behind the site was relatively fresh I had no idea how it would be received, or used. Thankfully, the site has proven quite popular, and I’d like to take the chance to thank everyone who has taken the time to stop by. I’m extremely grateful for all the wonderful emails, comments, and guest authors; without you the site wouldn’t be possible. Cliché, I know, but it’s true.

I’m working on some updates to the design, as what exists currently was a bit rushed and doesn’t quite accomplish the goals that it should. To make use of the opportunity, this is a good time to add additional features as well—reviews still being the focal point of the site. As Typesites exists by and large from its readers and guest authors I think it’s only appropriate to ask you what type of content you would like to see on there.

So I’ll keep this short and sweet. What do you love about Typesites? What do you dislike? How would you feel about a side-blog that spotlights web typography techniques? How else can the site be improved? The floor is yours…



  1. • What do you love about Typesites?

    How it has opened my mind on the use of typography on websites.

    • How would you feel about a side-blog that spotlights web typography techniques?

    I haven’t put any of the ideas in place yet, so yes, I’d love it.

    • How else can the site be improved?

    Offer a partial makeover once a month (or every other month). Not a massive change, just a tweak in the existing typography.

    Walk your audience through the changes while pointing out the reasons for each decision.

    The benefits of a partial makeover means you are not having to design an entire site. Also, you’d be showing weakness, a powerful exercise.

    So it’d be similar to tv makeovers where they upgrade the country mamma to the city gal version. They throw out a ton of stuff, but use the same body, only with different makeup and attire.

  2. I love the fact that the design was rushed, but it still made it into printed media like .net magazine!

    What I love about the site is its extensive review of a site and attention to detail that someone might not pick up themselves. I also love the fact that it is a great resource for finding good examples of typography, like a css gallery++ (sorry for that comparison).

    I would like to see some negative reviews for websites where the typography just doesn’t work, I think it would be just as beneficial to learn what not to do with typography on the web.

  3. While I’m excited about the prospect of new features, I think the simple approach of Typesites is a big part of its appeal. I know we’re both big fans of iLT, and I wonder if that already covers the ground quite well as far as a typography blog is concerned?

  4. I really love Typesites less for its focus on typography (which is great, don’t get me wrong), but for the mere fact that it’s web design criticism at all. I’m not sure why it has to be as narrow as typography since web design isn’t intelligently criticized anywhere, to my knowledge.

    Sure, there’s lots of galleries, showcases and voting sites but is anyone doing detailed thought-out articles on why other pieces of websites work? Some reviews on Typesites have strayed into other areas, but I’m not sure if those were exceptions. Surely the way type works with everything else is pretty important?

    Besides focusing on other areas of web design, I’d like to see before/after pieces with website redesigns, a la Brand New. I realize this may be challenging if you don’t know a redesign is coming since the old design wouldn’t be available. But, if feasible, it’d be interesting to read about.

  5. @David: My thoughts exactly, the reviews on Typesites have become more general over time, which I see as a good thing. Since the web is largely composed of typography I think this is still a good fit for both fronts.

    Your mention of redesign dissection, as well as @Cat’s is something I’ve been pondering as well. If you’re familiar with Andy Rutledge’s redux series, this is also a possibility. I think this fits in nicely with the Typesites review and critique format and would add a new dimension of context. I’m happy to see others are looking for the same thing!

    @Stevie K: Negative reviews are something to toy with as well, the only issue being that there tends to be some gray area on acceptability at times. However, I agree that knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do.

    @Elliot: A good point, however iLT does cover the board in a sense, both print and web. I think this would be a lesser feature of Typesites, but as you say, adding too much clutter and complexity can dilute a good thing. Something to rethink perhaps.

    Thanks for the feedback so far! This is invaluable information in a sense, thanks for taking the time to provide it.

  6. In the spirit of pointing out what doesn’t work, I’d love to see a real world example of what works best and what doesn’t. Comparing two similar sites, and explaining why one is *better* than the other one etc.

    Like Elliot, I like the simple approach of typesites. no bloat.

  7. What do I love? The simplicity of the idea and its execution. The quality of the writing. The big, reversed out headings. Yellow and black.

    A link to another ‘hints and tips’ site would be fine, but keep Typesites focussed on detailed reviews.. That’s its real strength, I think.

    Review some sites that are more mainstream - it’s currently a little bit enclosed: grid-based newspapers, well-respected designers, lots of Coudal. Reviews of more ‘everyday’ sites would be instructive.

  8. I love typesites because of the dept of the articles, every published article explores the typesite very thorough. And what I like is that is shows me new typesites, a great inspiration source.

    What to do next?
    Maby explore some smaller type (and type related) websites. Maby a good type/bad type legibility article, with examples. Maby explore articles about type and signage.

    One suggestion, make the links open in _blank this way I will not leave the website.

    Keep it up!

  9. In light of the previous comments, let me preface this by saying that I’m the kind of guy that reads type specimens in bed, and carry a font swatch everywhere, “just in case”.

    I think Typesites is very unique in that it does focus mainly on web type. (iLT does typography, ALA & others do web design) That’s not to say that I don’t welcome the occasional crossing over into “general”-territory – I just think it’s awesome to have a site focusing on web type specifically.

    So. To the questions:

    What I love about Typesites
    I love the intelligent debate and the quality of the writings, both from the contributers (I’ll exclude myself, of course) and, not least from the commenters.

    How would I feel about a side-blog
    Would love it, no question about it. I would like it to mainly continue to focus on web type, though. Web design is already covered by ALA, as I said, and type by iLT, but the overlapping of that venn-diagram (web design vs. typography) is quite small on both sites… Would love to see it cover both practical techniques and more general topics (CSS3 type features, fonts that work on the web, markup, etc.)…

    I love how you’ve been willing to toy around with new ideas for the site; and I don’t really know what to say, other than to just keep it up… ;) I could of course see Typesites doing stuff like the sideblog, the “redux”-ideas, perhaps a podcast… And I believe it shall indeed be awesome… ;)

  10. Typesites is great resources, I really like the quality of writing. I would like to see some related articles, links, resources, … about web typography. Side blog is a good idea.

  11. I’d love to see more mainstream and corporate site reviews. The overall concept is crispy clean - please keep it that way. Less is more. Great work!

  12. I think typesites is great as it is. Ultimately, I visit for the quality content and analysis and to improve my typography in general. I’m quite happy with the design and the main thing I would like to see is more articles. Anything else, is really just a bonus.

  13. I love typesites. It fills a part of the huge gapping hole that is web design criticism. I really wouldn’t be that excited for a side blog, there are plenty of other sites entirely devoted techniques.

    Mainstream and corporate reviews could be interesting, there is a lot to learn from “design that can inspire and teach.”

    The quality of the writing and criticisms where what attracted me to typesites. It stumbles at times (see the last paragraph of the latest review) but if you can keep it up, I can see typesites being an excellent resource for designers.

  14. Erm, what I meant was:
    “Mainstream and corporate reviews could be interesting, but there is still a lot to learn from ‘design that can inspire and teach.’”

    I love typesites “best of” approach. Examples of what not to do can be helpful, but I really appreciate that typesites showcases excellent design and typography done correctly, and explains why it’s excellent.

  15. a few points:

    - i love the focus on typography; please don’t expand to web design in general. In fact, I would probably un-subscribe at that point - unless you had a feed specific to typography.

    - “How would you feel about a side-blog that spotlights web typography techniques?” YES, YES, YES. That would be wonderful. It would be great for someone like - who, as a project manager - and isn’t a programmer or designer - needs to better understand the field - or the underlying assumptions you make within your reviews.

    - The current site design is quite fine by me. I care about the content of your articles. And I think it’s attractive as is.


  16. This discussion is spilling over into Typesites itself, which is a bit of a shame as it’s been nice reading a site where the discussion is just about the content rather than the site itself (if that makes sense!)

    Perhaps you need to define what reviewers should review a bit more clearly (i.e. what you mean by ‘typography’). Also, I think the reviews should be a critique of the site, rather than a simple example of good practice (although I appreciate most the reviews have a ‘criticism’ section): this is just as instructive. I’m thinking of reviewing the BBC home page, but there’s not too much good to say about it!

  17. Ditto John Arnor’s comment. Nailed it.
    And seriously, thank you, for this site. It’s a gem.

  18. What do you love about Typesites?

    I enjoy it all, but especially benefit when the discussion covers context — ie, why some typefaces are (or are not) appropriate in the context of a particular style of website. Choice of typeface is a decision loaded with dozens of implications you may have never intended, so it’s valuable to hear what experienced designers think works, and in what context.

    How would you feel about a side-blog that spotlights web typography techniques?

    Sounds excellent.

  19. I agree with many of the previous posters. One of the things I love seeing is a “Before and After”. Time consuming, yes, but if you or the guest author could show a (type) site in need of help and then a breakdown of how you could make it really shine. Lessons like that are invaluable, in my opinion. Keep up the great work!

  20. Hey Kyle, I haven’t been reading your stuff for very long but it has been interesting and inspiring while I go through college.

    What do you love about Typesites?
    I love the very anti-header* approach throughout the site, as well as the abundance of whitespace.

    * = I’m still learning how to describe things without being completely at length, sorry. I was referring to the dark grey background for the article’s name & comments that instead of generically stretching to the full width of whatever div it occupies to instead merely fit a snug amount around the text. Along with that the navigation items that are connected with whitespace and repetition.

    What do you dislike?
    First off:
    On an information design standpoint, I was confused at my first visit. I knew this site could only be one of two possibilities:

    1. A site about typography on the web (with the subheading of how harshly limiting it is) and how to make the best of it.

    2. A site about drooling over type.

    It ended up being #2, although I still wasn’t completely sure from the main page. I decided to instead read the first article which pops up an extra element that explains what I should know before, not after navigating the site: “What is Typesites”.

    Which brings up my second criticism: Redundancy.
    This 1 liner explanation is present within all other pages except index, including the About page itself.

    Thirdly, what is that image above the “What is Typesites” thing? Is this some sort of typographic image that I just don’t get because I’m still learning? Whenever I see it I just think “image broken” or “Filler.” I guess it’s like Comic Sans, the font that I’ve heard so many jokes about but have never seen it in use except as a joke. Must be a generational thing, I guess?

    I’m sorry if I sound harsh, but those did come to mind when I visited. I hope you find it constructive.

    How would you feel about a side-blog that spotlights web typography techniques?

    I’d love it. Typography on the web is basically nonexistent for me as almost all of the work I’ve done so far has been in print. I’m also disgusted with the type on my online portfolio because I don’t know how to expand my capability with what little font choices there are. I enjoy the challenge, but I really think I’m missing something that I could do.

  21. What I love about typesites is that it actively critiques web work on its design merits. All to often we see web worked critiqued for its ability to be standards compliant, SEO friendly, or whether it validates and frankly I couldn’t give a shit. As a designer I am much more interested in seeing sites critiqued for their design rather than technical reasons. Unfortunately in web design it is design that all too often takes a back seat.

    Keep up the great work, I love the site!

  22. Hi Kyle,
    first things first - kudos for a great site!

    Speaking of improvement, as some people above me, I would love to have a general critique included in the Typesites’ posts. So not only what and why typography was used and how it works, but also, why this *design* in general works (i.e. what design choices have been made considering site’s desired audience, design style/conventions used, or even hardware or software limitations, etc., etc..

    I love the ‘rushed’ design and I wouldn’t change a thing up front (sidebar/blog would clog things too much to me, but maybe if you put it in the footer…? - I am all for typographic techniques anyway), but I’d say the archives are - or will be soon - in need for a redesign. Maybe a multicolumn presentation of small thumbnails of reviewed sites?

    cheers and good luck with the ‘realignment’ :-)