Jason Stoff is a Senior Designer at Atomicdust, Photo Editor at Eleven Magazine and Editor / Photographer at ENCOR.ES in St. Louis, Missouri.


Mac or PC? I’m a Mac and iOS user primarily, though I own and use a pc at home as a media server / Steam machine.

In your opinion, what is the best browser for web fonts? To my eyes, Safari has the best type rendering/subpixel antialiasing of the major browsers — especially on a retina display, which really pushes typography to the forefront. Chrome is close, but slightly jaggy. I don’t like to browse in Firefox or ie, largely because of their terrible font rendering.

What makes you cringe when looking at type on the web? Aside from type embedded as a jpeg, I can’t stand to see body copy that spans the width of a page without regard for a readable measure. Wikipedia is actually really bad about that. My second biggest pet peeve is when body copy isn’t properly leaded / linespaced.

What is one thing you would like other web and graphic designers to know about web fonts? The basics of typography don’t go out the window when you’re working on the web — the web is largely interpreted through reading, so design it as such. Keep readability in mind first, design around that. Use contrasting typefaces when appropriate to draw attention where you want it.

How are webfonts contributing to brand development on multi media devices? Brands have always used typography choices (along with photography choices, layout choices, etc) in various media to create a signature visual style that they can own — it’s an essential part of branding. The advent of truly cross-platform webfonts has brought that aspect of design to the web, since it’d previously had a limited type palette to work with. Some companies — take the New York Times as an example — will even commission web versions of their print faces to closely tie their media presence together.

What makes a great webfont worth purchasing? Firstly, a great webfont is optimized for the screen — check out HF&J’s painstakingly detailed work to bring the character of their classic typefaces to the screen, and you quickly realize how pixels are different than paper. Secondly, in my opinion, a good webfont will include a ton of characters, including ligatures. Thirdly, purchase a webfont if it’s a client job — they’re the ones paying, after all.

Do you know what hinting is, if so, in your words what does hinting do? I do know – hinting is the process of tweaking individual characters’ outlines to better align with a raster grid, aka, making high resolution vector shapes fit a low-resolution dot grid in a more pleasing manner. This is essentially what I was saying with regards to HF&J’s Screen Smart type — it’s hinted to work well on screens, providing proper contrast, clarity and character to screen versions of print fonts.

How much coffee do you consume on a daily basis? Far, far too much. Coffee until 5:00 pm, then alcohol.