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Rationale

When considering the so-called "web safe fonts", Georgia is one of the most distinctive typefaces out there. This means that it cannot be easily dealt-with with a generic serif fallback because its letters are much bigger than those found in Times and its many implementations.

Wikipedia shows the following picture, demonstrating the fact that letters in Georgia are about 10% larger than Times New Roman. Georgia is commonly found on Windows and OS X, however it is a proprietary font not found on Linux, unless the user installs the corefonts package.

Wikipedia comparison

This means that many users will see some websites on this network using a generic fallback font, which usually means serif. For example, here is the CSS line used on Math.SE and English.SE:

font-family: Georgia,"Times New Roman",Times,serif;

The following screenshots show that English.SE is readable with Georgia, but fonts are too small (especially for the tiny labels) with other fonts.

Website with Georgia

screenshot with Georgia

Website with Serif (likely FreeSerif)

screenshot with Serif

Magnified Georgia

magnified Georgia

Magnified Serif

magnified Serif

Proposal

I believe a better font stack should be considered, in particular taking Bitstream Charter into account:

font-family: Georgia,"Bitstream Charter","Times New Roman",Times,serif;

screenshot with Bitstream Charter

Bitstream Charter is very similar to Georgia, although not exactly metrically equivalent. It was also designed by Matthew Carter, the author of Georgia, Verdana and Tahoma. It can be found on most Linux systems, as discussed in A Web Designer’s Guide to Linux Fonts.

Some Linux distributions include Gelasio, which is metrically equivalent with Georgia, although that's pretty rare. Also worth mentioning is the solution posted in Font stacks that look similar in Windows, OS X, and Linux:

font-family: Georgia, "Bitstream Charter", "Charis SIL", Utopia, "URW Bookman L", serif;

I personally do not think adding a few fonts to the stack would have negative effects on users who already have Georgia, but it could improve the experience for other people.

Would it be possible to implement this?

  • 3
    To the person who downvoted: I am interested in hearing about different opinions on this topic. Could you please share why you think this is not a good idea? Thank you. – Andrea Lazzarotto Aug 26 '16 at 14:19

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