When I was thinking about what to write about this week, The Cut, New York Magazine’s style blog, immediately jumped out at me. There are a ton of different fonts going on on the page and the styles are all very reminiscent of the fonts and layout you might see in a traditional fashion magazine. I think that’s precisely what the folks at The Cut were going for, and in this case it works well. The fonts are easy to read but give a very editorial, print journalism feel. At the same time, the occasional sans serif thrown in reminds me that I’m reading a website. The mix is nice.
Most of the navigation part of the website is done in Miller Headline Light Italic, in all caps. As italics go, this definitely leans into more of a straight slant. I don’t normally love that style but the headline and the navigation bars are easily readable. The all caps sets the top navigation apart from article headlines. Side note: if you click on the image to make it larger, check out the ampersand in the Love & War section. Probably on my list of top ampersands because that tail is beautiful.
The Cut uses a number of different fonts, which normally freaks me out. I can’t think of the last time I designed something using more than maybe three fonts. My resume has two, for example. That being said, I don’t feel overwhelmed when I looked at the page. I think it’s because Miller Headline looks pretty similar to the other serif font, Georgia, that’s used a lot. And the sans serif, Arial, is a pretty neutral font that goes with a lot of serifs. There’s a tiny bit of Helvetica Neue in the site as well, which kind of confuses me because I always thought when you became a designer you had to commit to either Arial or the Helvetica family or face the wrath of people who care about these sorts of things. In the Cut’s case, though, the sans serifs are so small it doesn’t really make a difference, even if you’re a nerd like me who can tell the fonts apart.
For most of the page, the right sidebar is a dose of easily readable Georgia and Georgia Bold, with Miller Headline Light for the section header and Miller Headline Semibold for the featured story headlines. Story categories and bylines are done in Arial and Arial Bold. I like the visible amount of space between the letters on the Arial font. I think the kerning there makes everything more readable and more visually separated from the headline and blurb text above and below it. I don’t like the kerning on the pictures feature though. The letters are more or less running together. While it’s consistent, I find the smushed-together letters to be harder to read.
As you scroll further down The Cut’s website, you finally get to a most-read section. Here, I like that The Cut abandons the magazine-type feel of the earlier sections. The “Most Popular” section is an exclusively web phenomenon, so it’s nice to have those headlines laid out in a nice web-favorite font like Arial. Everywhere else on the site, Arial is only for tiny accents and links. Here, it gets full attention. Miller Headline Light Italic is the accent font on the headline and numbers, and we’ve got the Georgia sidebar again to the left. Although The Cut is a pretty font-happy site, the results aren’t overwhelming and the use of the Miller Headline family generally gives the site a print vibe. I’m curious as to why the designers chose to do a solid chunk of the site in Georgia, though. Perhaps it’s simply an undistracting font for a text-heavy sidebar, but it seems like something of an odd choice for smaller headlines when Miller Headline font generally works in a variety of sizes. It’s possible that Georgia simply looks better on the smallest-sized headlines.