content=”Futura, Georgia, Helvetica, Arial, serif”

by admin

From the stylesheet of a friend’s Tumblr page.

For the the uninitiated, this line of code specifies what fonts to use in displaying website text. The visitor’s browser works from left to right, and displays the first font on the list that it has installed.

The idea is to give designers some leeway on specifying a font. Futura, the first choice, is very stylish but pretty risky—a lot of browsers don’t have it. Helvetica and Arial are passably similar, and are common enough to make good backups.

But Georgia? Sure, Georgia is fairly universal, but it looks nothing like the other three. And the generic font—a sort of last-resort that defines by category rather than name—specifies a serif (like Georgia; not like the other three).

Can a real web designer tell me why anyone would do this?