Jeff Croft

I’m a product designer in Seattle, WA. I recently worked at Simply Measured, and previously co-founded Lendle.

Some of my past clients include Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and the University of Washington.

I’ve authored two books on web and interactive design and spoken at dozens of conferences around the world.

I’m currently accepting contract work and considering full-time opportunities.

Blog entry // 07.22.2009 // 4:45 PM // 35 Comments

DelveUI New York: Help me plan my talk in exchange for free tickets!

As I mentioned here before, I’ll be speaking in New York in a couple of weeks at DelveUI, a two-day event filled with sessions from some of the best UI designers on the planet, including Lou Rosenfeld, Jina Bolton, Scott Jehl, Andrew Maier, Jamey Kosoy, Jason Santa Maria, Ryan Stewart, Theresa Neil, Robert Hoekman, Joshua Porter, Anders Ramsay, and Todd Zaki Warfel. I think this is going to be a really, really great event.

My talk at the event will be about one of my favorite topics: web typography, specifically as it relates to CSS, and hopefully with plenty of new hotness from CSS3 thrown in. I’ve got the talk pretty well-prepared already, but I want to hear what it is you all would like to see addressed in a talk of this nature. So much so, in fact, that I’ve convinced the Delve crew to let me give 10 readers free registration for the event in exchange for your ideas. And if you’re too late to get one of the free registrations, I may still be able to hook you up with a juicy discount.

Here’s how it’ll work: the first 10 people to leave a comment here with both a good suggestion for CSS type-related topics and a serious interest in going to Devle will get added to my personal guest list for the event. You’re on your own for travel and accommodation, so please don’t waste a free ticket if you can’t make it to New York on August 5th and 6th. What qualifies as a “good” suggestion? I dunno. I’ll be the judge of that. :) If it’s thoughtful and sincere, I’m sure we’ll have no controversy.

After the 10 spots are gone, I can give another 15 people a 20% discount on their registration. So keep the suggestions coming! If you can’t make the event but have a suggestion for the talk anyway, go ahead and drop it here and mention that you don’t want to be considered for the free registrations or the discounts.

I can’t promise I’ll use every single good suggestion I get, but I’m sure I’ll be able to address many of them. Thanks in advance for all the suggestions, and I’ll see 25 of you at Delve!


  1. 001 // Divya // 07.22.2009 // 5:28 PM

    OK I don’t want the free spot, BUT the last few days I have spent my waking hours doing research on the web typography thingies, so here are what I, as a web developer, would look for from your talk:

    1. What is font embedding? How to detect font embedding? Does Flash/PDF ignore font embedding?

    2. Intro to @ font-face, what it is capable of. Obstacles to using current fonts (size/legality).

    3. What is EOT? EOT-Lite? Why it was not adopted?

    4. IE support of @ font-face.

    5. Ongoing efforts to introduce more typographic variables from print world to web (I have no clue, but found these in Advanced Font Features).

    6. Solns that will work NOW for @ font-face

    7. Interesting proposals that will work in the future, drawbacks etc.

    Oh my, I think I just wrote an outline for a blog post :)

  2. 002 // Matthew Oliphant // 07.22.2009 // 5:30 PM

    I want to know how, with the coming onslaught of designers using all manner of fonts, how readability (for both speed and comprehension), scanability, and impact on eye strain and attention will be managed.

    Can you talk about that? ;)

  3. 003 // Adam Hobson // 07.22.2009 // 5:44 PM

    I don’t need to be in the running for any passes since those the 4th and 5th appear to be good old fashioned work days.

    But, I’ll second Matthew’s suggestion. With @font-face making it so easy now to include all sorts of fonts, how should we decide what fonts to choose beyond just serif vs. sans-serif. What little things should we look for in a font to know that it will be an easy-to-read font for body copy, or for headline copy. Do certain fonts complement each other better when used in heading/body pairings than others. What should we look for in a font we want to use as light text on dark vs what should we look for in a font to use as dark text on light background.

    Along the same line, when is it best to implement some of the new CSS3 styles like font-shadow and such.

    And here’s a second idea thrown in for free: vertical rythm in the world of dynamic copy and CMS’s. What’s the best ways to set a vertical rhythm on a page when you don’t even know what some random user will post there. How can the vertical grid be protected from the user?

  4. 004 // Matthew Simo // 07.22.2009 // 6:05 PM

    What’s left? With the inclusion and adoption of @font-face the web is going to be given a much wider range of voice on the web.

    A. I feel slightly like we are giving a loaded weapon to children, how are we going to manage the web’s typographical maturity process? (i.e. Stopping the flood of papyrus that I’m already starting to have nightmares about.)

    B. All of my typographical knowledge pertains almost exclusively to the web medium so I’m unsure of the disparity of control a print designer might have over typographical elements versus a web designer.

    What is left if there is anything, and what steps need to be taken to ‘catch up’? (Widow’s & orphans? /shrug)

    Where do we go? Do we (or should we) extend the capability of web typography past what we know the limitations to be?

    I’d love a ticket, I caught wind of the Delve:UI and I literally fantasized about it but as a freelancer just starting out in Dallas I didn’t think there would be any way at all.

    Before I give you a certain answer I need to verify I can cover travel and accommodation expenses (i.e. find a couch I can crash on)

    Thanks for this opportunity!

  5. 005 // Tiff Fehr // 07.22.2009 // 6:06 PM

    Growing interest in ‘object-oriented’ CSS thinking in larger applications, via Nicole Sullivan’s talks and projects (

    ). For those of us dealing with massive sites, approaches like oocss bring sanity to maintenance chaos.

  6. 006 // Ben // 07.22.2009 // 6:31 PM

    We’re starting to see a wide variety of devices out there. From the desktop to the Kindle to the iPhone, the Pre, Blackberrys, and on and on.

    What we find optimal on a desktop is unlikely to be optimal on an iPhone… and ePaper devices are different still. How does one handle the different typographic needs of the different platforms? How can it fit into a design workflow without inflating timelines and budgets?

    Not sure if this will meet the mark, but I am very interested in attending.

  7. 007 // colleen sullivan leh // 07.22.2009 // 6:51 PM

    It would be interesting to hear approaches using basic system fonts and graceful degradation. For instance, if Calibri isn’t available the site might default to lucida or tahoma or such. These require different typographic treatments, like line-height or even font size. How to handle that without javascript or setting up many style sheets — if that’s even possible.

    (perhaps once ie6 dies we can also bury trebuchet and verdana? please?)

    I also like Ben’s suggestion. It can be hard for a small shop to set up and test for different devices.

  8. 008 // Ryan Donohue // 07.22.2009 // 8:25 PM

    Hi Jeff,

    The CSS3 attribute selectors remain a little confusing for me, although I can see how powerful they might be.

    Would be great to get a working knowledge of this aspect of CSS3.


  9. 009 // Willy // 07.22.2009 // 9:41 PM

    Hi Jeff,

    I think a nice idea might be to explore how a designers might best use the Cascade part of CSS to their advantage. For example, if you’re a standards-inclined, separate-layout-from-content type front end developer who writes super clean markup, what are some good techniques and best practices for setting up CSS rules for type and layout in a general way at the top of your style sheet that you can use effortlessly throughout your site? For instance, is there a slick way to establish, say, “small”, “medium”, “large”, and “extra-large” type classes (with appropriate line-height and other typographic declarations), as well as “sans” and “serif” classes that you can then append throughout your markup thereby avoiding he need to worry about (as one example) how nested em declarations impact the size and spacing?

    I just find that all too often I’ll be working on something like a block of text on a given page and the context will be such that it’s only 90% right with the default rules I’ve written, and so I need to throw on an additional specific CSS rule to make it work for this situation, but then I find that I then often add as well (by mistake or over time) a redundant rule that maybe I didn’t need or wouldn’t have needed if I had built adequate inheritance into my style sheet to begin with.

    Many folks might think that this is too basic or pedestrian to be of much use, but I think treated correctly it it could be quite a sophisticated tool to incorporate in your CSS/HTML. The concept of using grid-based layouts can also seem sort of basic and trivial - until, of course, you stat to use them and learn their power.

    I didn’t completely think this through, but I’m typing fast b/c I saw the Delve schedule and would kill to go (it’s literally just down the street from my studio) but just went to An Event Apart Boston and this self-employed guy was having a tough time justifying another conference ticket!

    Thanks a lot and good luck with your talk, Willy

  10. 010 // Ryan Donohue // 07.22.2009 // 9:52 PM

    A couple more thoughts - CSS3 gives a lot of control over contextual styling. So, for example, what are some good looking ways to handle in-text icons? Or will we start seeing more subtle, typographic cues to indicate that a particular bit of text links to a movie, pdf, map, etc.? Also, how about a mention of font-size-adjust, which allows for x-height harmony across fonts? (I would definitely go to delve - I happen to have those days off of work!)

  11. 011 // Michael Kozakewich // 07.23.2009 // 3:11 AM

    The thing about the web is that you can find anything on it — especially very important [popular] pieces of information.

    I’d say, then, that a talk should go into the minutia that most people just wouldn’t be able to uncover. Things I probably don’t know about, so can’t recommend. For example, if you know a way to make typography look good in every browser. Or, go into the history of kerning (just a bit).

    Actually, a very important topic would be convergence. If you can explain how to use typography with everything else to make a complete experience (including CSS, what you can do with javascript, or using other technologies), you’d probably benefit people more than with just a talk about how CSS3 might let you kern.

    (P.S.: No tickets for me.)

  12. 012 // Eric DeLabar // 07.23.2009 // 4:33 AM

    I’d be most interested in learning your thoughts on how to select fonts for a design. I’ve read and heard a number of “rules” for font selection like “only use two font faces per page - a serif and a sans serif,” but I’ve seen rules like that broken in beautiful ways.

    Just like choosing colors are there psychological aspects to font selection? Accessibility aspects?

    When and how should I use different font faces in a family? How do I/can I use ligatures?

    Not so much CSS related but how does typographic hierarchy work? Where did those numbers come from (…18, 24, 30, 36, 48…) and how do I use them to my advantage in headers and body copy sizes? How do I determine padding/margin sizes both horizontally and vertically - how much breathing room does my copy need to look great?

    I’ll second (or third) the vertical rhythm request, I think the horizontal grid has been pretty established by documentation by now, but I’ve only seen a few articles on a vertical one.

    Basically, being a web developer for a number of years now, I can figure out the nuts and bolts of how to do something in web design. But without having any formal design education, my biggest hang-up is why I do it that way, and how to make the right design decisions now that the technology is finally coming of age.

    As a framing for these requests, my boss has an eye for great design, but that’s as far as it goes. He knows what looks good but is constantly asking me why it looks good, and for some sites the only thing I can say is, “it is the typography” which he translates directly to “the font.”

  13. 013 // Cristian Zapata // 07.23.2009 // 6:04 AM

    Hi Jeff,

    I think it would be great to see how fluid layouts and the larger screen sizes are affecting font face choices. With min/max width becoming more reliable in newer browsers and @font-face along with typekit, we as designers have more control over the feel and flow of type content. And thus have a responsibility to adress this.


  14. 014 // John Labriola // 07.23.2009 // 6:18 AM

    First I really like the other ideas posted so far. How to and which fonts to use. Especially in regards to degrading gracefully not only with font availability but different devices.

    But what I would love to hear more about is how to implement typography best practices in general with CSS. For example like choosing a layout grid, best width for reading, font sizing and pairing, letter spacing, line hieght, kerning, leading, using whitespace, and the like.

    It would be great to learn how to use CSS to do things like what Robert Bringhurst talks about in Elements of Typographic Style. had some stuff before they stopped publishing.

    I could use a free ticket. It sounds like an amazing event. But lately my company has cutback on compensation for training or conferences.


  15. 015 // Eric DeLabar // 07.23.2009 // 8:01 AM

    Not sure if it has to be said explicitly, but I’d love to go to delve if you like my suggestion above… :)

  16. 016 // Matthew Simo // 07.23.2009 // 8:12 AM

    If you are serious about giving me a ticket I’ll do whatever it takes to get there. There are some good couchsurfers so I’m sure I could find a place to crash.

    Let me know so I can arrange travel plans. Thanks!

  17. 017 // Jeff Croft // 07.23.2009 // 12:34 PM

    Thanks for all the great suggestions, guys! I think we’ve got our 10 for free tickets, now (Matthew Oliphant, Matthew Simo, Tiff Fehr, Ben Slavin, Colleen Sullivan Leh, Ryan Donohue, Willy, Eric DeLabar, Cristian Zapata, and John Labriola), but I can still offer some discounts, so keep ‘em coming!

    For our winners: I’m giving your names and e-mail address to the organizer of the event — he’ll make sure you’re on the list! If any of you don’t want or aren’t able to go, please let me know ASAP so I can re-open the spot to someone else.

    I’ll try to address most of these topics as best I can in the talk. Can’t promise I’ll get to all of them, but I’ll do what I can. I may forward Jina some of the suggestions that are more general CSS3 topics rather than type-specific — they might fit better into her talk!

    Thanks, everyone! Keep ‘em coming!

  18. 018 // Jeff Croft // 07.23.2009 // 1:12 PM

    Actually, one person is unable to make it, so we do still have one free ticket available. Who wants it?! :)

  19. 019 // Steve // 07.23.2009 // 1:19 PM

    I really want to see how we can use font embedding to keep people from using crap fonts like Papyrus and Comic Sans and Hobo.

    And I want a free ticket. Please. Thanks.

  20. 020 // Javier Rios // 07.23.2009 // 1:27 PM

    I would love to go to this conferance and with a free ticket i would be greatful. But what I would like to see talked about is typography for mobile devices, from the iPhone with large screen to choosing right fonts for smaller devices. Phones are getting smarter and better and with mobile browsers and people adopting them, not very fast in the US would still like to know your thoughts on what we can do now and where we are headed. I am interested in this because I am now building more and more mobile apps, this year seem to be up to three.

    I also like a lot of the other suggestions on top and felt like no reiterating what they had said.

  21. 021 // Ryan Brunsvold // 07.23.2009 // 1:29 PM

    One topic I have yet to see anyone discuss in-depth is the impact a broader selection of typography might have on the future of web design education.

    A great many web designers do not have a strong, formal education on typography. While I am greatly in favor of opening up the typography floodgates, I worry that with so many people using typography poorly the web could quickly become an unreadable medium.

  22. 022 // Ryan Brunsvold // 07.23.2009 // 1:31 PM

    Begging your pardon, but I forgot to add that I really, really, really want to attend DelveNYC. I’d even add another “really” if you requested it.

  23. 023 // Jeff Croft // 07.23.2009 // 1:33 PM

    Thanks for the comments, guys. Gotta give that last ticket to Steve, just on account of getting in first, but Javier and Ryan, I can get you 20% discounts to the event if you’re interested.

  24. 024 // Collin Kelly // 07.23.2009 // 1:37 PM

    I think DIVYA covered everything I’ve wanted to hear from you regarding typography and the web. Super curious also about your thoughts on Typekit, and what sort of standard that might establish, good or bad.

    I’m a freelancer in NYC and would LOVE a free ticket to DelveUI. If it’s spoken for already, that’s cool. Just caught wind of this through your twitter feed, thanks for tweeting about the conference anyway!


  25. 025 // John Labriola // 07.24.2009 // 7 AM

    Wow, thanks Jeff. You rock! I really appreciate this! And look forward to your talk and meeting you.

    So should we just just show up or do we need to do anything?

    Thanks again!

  26. 026 // Keri Henare // 08.04.2009 // 12:41 PM

    Jeff, I’m still waiting for you to come and talk down here in New Zealand. What I’d like to see is a video of your talk, like how Apple puts the WWDC talks up. Congrats to you lucky people getting free tickets.

  27. 027 // Craigslist // 08.10.2009 // 3:27 AM

    Great article !!!

  28. 028 // discount web design // 08.28.2009 // 1:26 AM

    eo…. very nice. thanks

  29. 029 // Jasja ter Horst // 09.09.2009 // 6:16 AM

    I would like to know why they don’t support ‘@namespace’in IE 8, they done a lot of good work recently but why not support ’@namespace’?

  30. 030 // TWD - // 09.10.2009 // 1:34 PM

    this article is awesome

  31. 031 // digital investigations // 09.29.2009 // 7:55 AM

    Nice post, I’m new to UI design and CSS and wasn’t aware of this conference, I’ll definitely look out for the next one. Typography and use of fonts is much more complex than I thought it would be!

  32. 032 // Digital Investigator // 09.29.2009 // 7:57 AM

    Nice post, I’m new to UI design and CSS and wasn’t aware of this conference, I’ll definitely look out for the next one. Typography and use of fonts is much more complex than I thought it would be!

  33. 033 // Digital Investigator // 09.29.2009 // 7:57 AM

    Nice post, I’m new to UI design and CSS and wasn’t aware of this conference, I’ll definitely look out for the next one. Typography and use of fonts is much more complex than I thought it would be!

  34. 034 // Property in Mumbai // 10.07.2009 // 10:01 PM

    This article is simply awesome. Thanks for sharing the update version..

  35. 035 // chris // 11.12.2009 // 12:46 AM

    hi jeff. du you write an article about how it was there? it sounds interesting

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