While I don’t believe that ‘rules are there to be broken’ I do believe that rules create a framework in which everything has a level playing field, and allows for clearer communication across all those using them.
Rules for design and type are there as a basis of understanding and training, it doesn’t mean they can’t be challenged and pushed.
I have said before that, ‘as a rule’, use sans serif fonts for digital and screen work, while you should use serif fonts for printed work. On the whole this is a good rule of thumb and one which should therefore be challenged.
This is what Matthew Carter did when he developed the Georgia family of fonts. He was designing in the early days of digital type for monitors and was working with basic pixel shapes. The challenge he had been given was to create a serif font which would work on low resolution monitors and at small sizes.
Like Verdana, Georgia has tall lower case characters making them larger and clearer at smaller sizes in comparison to the capitals. The letter forms are slightly wider making them easier to read while the whole facce is larger than others at the same size.
Although it uses the traditional alternating thick and thin strokes like other serif fonts both are thicker than normal and the bold version is bolder than many others. This ‘forced’ clarity works well, especially at smaller sizes, and for body copy making is a useful and clear solution for small type online even today.
When options are limited and the feel of a traditional looking serif font would help a digital job then Georgia is a great solution.