Re: Why doesn't 'font-weight: 100' work yet?

On Wed, 22 Aug 2007, Bert Bos wrote:

> It used to be that the font APIs on many operating systems weren't rich
> enough to put more than two weights in one family. That's no longer the
> case, but most browsers still don't seem to recognize any weights other
> than 'normal' or 'bold'. Why is that?

One reason is that fonts might not exist in other weights. Although old 
typography concepts define ten weights from ultra light to extra black 
(which are reflected in the font-weight values of CSS, with the odd 
omission of extra black), few if any fonts exist in all of those weights. 
Fonts available by default in common computer systems are even more 

> E.g., the fontconfig library on my system finds all three weights of
> Gill Sans, but my browser doesn't:

I'm not surprised. Browsers don't care much about font weights. They use 
normal and bold, and that's it. Well, all the rest is mapped to those. And 
to be exact, it's really worse. Browsers may apply mechanical 
(algorithmic) bolding at times, creating other weights but in odd ways, so 
that weight 600 might look bolder than 700, for example.

Browser vendors have little motivation for supporting other weights, since 
nobody uses them or knows about them, except some CSS enthusiasts. :-) I'm 
not sure whether there's any _need_ for supporting sub-normal weights 
(100, 200, 300), at least on screen.

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela,

Received on Wednesday, 22 August 2007 16:35:03 UTC