Once again I’m in the midst of tweaking the typography of this site. Never wanted to do it again — hate it. Maybe I’m just stupid, maybe just using the wrong tools. But it got me thinking. Isn’t it time to rethink how browsers handle typography on a fundamental level instead of leaving everything to CSS? Pretty please?

But first, I have to confess I’m not 100% up to date with the current developments in this regard. If the following ideas are redundant because they’re already being addressed – please let me know! My train of thought is:

Are browsers typography defaults worthy of 2016?

We’ve got an arsenal of webfonts at our disposal. It’s possible to use them perfectly responsible. But the way of handling it via CSS and it’s nestedness… Uh. Especially when dealing with already existing websites. I’m tired of unraveling a cobweb of CSS spread across reset stylesheets, bootstrap.css and other files. And I doubt I’m the only one. It just takes time and resources I deem absolutely unnecessary. Plus, I’m “just” a designer. The only reason why I started with CSS was to gain control over typography in first place. As far as I’m concerned, things continuously grew more complex.

Let’s be honest: reset stylesheets, bootstrap and jquery plugins to unsuck typography merely exist because browser defaults are stuck with values from the 90s. But…

…what if

  • browsers came with a balanced baseline grid using optimum line-heights, headings etc based upon the golden ratio?
  • you could adjust the global ratio via CSS to your liking and everything would scale in tune for all devices?
  • the metadata of OTF fonts would be used to calculate the perfect line-height for the font in use individually?
  • there was a CSS switch to disable the defaults for backwards compatibility?

Call me lazy. I’d still love to see that happen. Not only for time saving sake. It’d make websites easier accessible for visually impaired users since a lot of scaling issues fell apart. Among other things.

I can’t be the the first and only one thinking about this. If you’d like to extend this thought, how about we have a chat on Twitter?