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Design

Everything about the Modular Scale Sass Libary and Modular Scale with Typi

Previously, I shared the theory about adjusting your Modular Scale scale to size your headers for different devices. I also covered how you can do it with the Modular Scale plugin for the 4th method.

Today, I want to share more about the Modular Scale library so you can learn to integrate it into your project easily. I’m also going to share with you how to use Modular Scale with Typi.

Changing Modular Scale Ratio at Different Breakpoints

I spoke about why you may have problems with large font-sizes on the mobile and the four methods to deal with it in a previous article. In this article, we’re going to look at implementing the fourth method that was mentioned—changing the Modular Scale ratio at different breakpoints.

Responsive Modular Scale

Do your font-sizes look gigantic on the mobile? You’re not alone. It’s a common problem many people have when using Modular Scale for responsive websites.

In this article, I want to share with you how this problem arises and how to fix it so you no longer have font-size woes.

Ready? Let’s go.

Were We Wrong About Vertical Rhythm All Along?

Just a few days ago, I received a design critique from Aurobind (a font, newspaper and magazine designer) regarding my website. He specifically pointed out that the spaces between my paragraphs could be reduced to achieve a better effect.

I was dumbfounded. I didn’t believe him at first since I was already using Vertical Rhythm. If I were to reduce the amount of space between paragraphs, wouldn’t I be breaking the Vertical Rhythm?

Even though I don’t believe it, I decided to try it out since I respect his expertise and the feedback he’s willing to give. And boy, I’m utterly convinced.

Is Web Typography Completely Broken?

I recently came across an article titled “Web typography is broken. Here’s how we can fix it”. A mix of emotions rushed through me while I read through it. I realized that the biggest argument Tom was making in the article was that web typography is broken because type doesn’t sit perfectly on a baseline grid.

On one hand, I was happy to see people coming up with ideas to push code to their limits.

On the other hand, I’m unsettled. I asked myself: “Is there a need to make every line of text sit on the baseline“? I knew the importance of Vertical Rhythm and the baseline grid. I also knew that details matter when it comes to design. But is this one detail enough to break web typography?

As I browsed through the internet looking for answers, I found out that even great designers like Mark Boulton remarked that it would be cool if CSS gave us a pain free baseline grid.

This increased my urge to find out if web typography was completely broken. After all, if a great designer said the same thing, then sticking perfectly to the baseline grid should be important. Right?

Why is Vertical Rhythm an Important Typography Practice?

You probably heard of the term Vertical Rhythm if you researched a little about typography on the web. It’s one of the most important practices when working with typography. I’ve used Vertical Rhythm on all my sites ever since I read about it.

One day, it struck me that I haven’t had a clue why vertical rhythm was important. Two more questions quickly arose following that thought: “How does Vertical Rhythm improve the design of the site? What lessons can I draw from Vertical Rhythm so I can improve my design?”

I decided to find out why. Here are my thoughts.

Everything I know about Responsive Web Typography

Responsive typography is a tough nut to crack. This was the best method I could come up with when I first started creating responsive websites:

p {
  font-size: 16px;
}

@media (min-width: 800px) {
  p {
    font-size: 18px;
  }
}

/* Repeat for h1 - h6 and other type groups */

I’ve learned a lot more about typography since then and picked up best practices like using relative units, vertical rhythms and meaningful typography scales.

These new practices were wonderful. They made my websites look more pleasing to the eye. Implementing them, however, was a horrible experience.

I had to write complex code and I found myself struggling to create responsive websites under tremendous time pressure.

Now, after months of hacking, I’ve finally created a solution that I’m happy to share with you. It’s called Typi.

Typi is great because it allows me to use the practices I’ve learned, and at the same time solves most of the problems I’ve encountered in 3 simple steps. Let me explain these three steps by walking you through the practices I use when working with responsive typography.

Compass Vertical Rhythms

Vertical Rhythms are part and parcel of good web design. Although they are important, they can be an incredibly chore to calculate.

Luckily, Compass has a great vertical rhythm module that helps clears this mess up.

Tools I use for learning and using colors

I mentioned how I felt that Color Picker and Palette Galleries hinders our workflow process in my previous post and I thought I’d just complement that post with a few tools that I find are exceptionally useful.

Why color pickers and palettes are bad for you

Color is one complicating element that is very difficult to get correct when designing. While scouring the web in search for methods to learn select colors for my designs, I inevitably find many articles about picking colors with tools such as Adobe Kuler, palette galleries like COLOURlovers.

While all these are great methods, they ironically may hinder our learning and workflow much more than they help…