I just installed SmartyPants, a little plug-in for Moveable Type that automatically replaces a few text characters with more attractive and correct typographic entities. Double-quotes turn into “smart-quotes” (as do apostrophes), three full-stops turn into ellipses (…), and
-- turns into an em-dash ( — ). How lovely.
On a similar theme I really wanted to try out Gill Sans as a font for this site, inspired by Matt’s and Aaron Swartz’s new designs. This elegant font would only show up for people using Mac OS X, although this wouldn’t be a problem, as CSS would just fall back to my second preference font for everyone else. However, compared to fonts such as Verdana, currently this site’s default, Gill Sans is very narrow and also looks pretty small (a small x-height?). So any careful choice of font sizes and column widths (for example, the right-hand column’s width) would only be correct for one of these fonts. To be honest, I wonder if Gill Sans is really a good font for bodytext on screen, despite its alluring elegance.
By the way, I’m not entirely convinced about my current choice of Verdana. I went off it some time ago, but recently read a site which I thought looked clean and readable, and then discovered it was set in Verdana. I think the site looks OK now — I lack the vocabulary, but everything seems to hang together quite well. But I feel I’m committing some terrible faux pas and trendy typography buffs are probably sniggering at me.