Making symbol fonts simple

Symbol fonts offer all the advantages of type for images - resolution-independent and tweakable with CSS

Since the launch of Apple's Retina display, symbol fonts have been getting a lot of attention lately, as they're a great way to serve up images that look good on any screen resolution. Note to mention that any CSS effect that works on text will also work on symbol fonts.

Symbolset is a website by Oak Studios in Brooklyn, set up to demo and sell Symbolsets - semantic symbol fonts. And as well as offering some fine resources for web designers, it's a gorgeous site that offers a great user experience.

SS Pika Pika is a friendly symbol font with precise pixel-fitting and a warm, organic finish

To build it, Oak Studios used a soon-to-be released content management it’s been crafting called Siteleaf, which is currently enjoying a life in private beta.

"Siteleaf lives in the cloud, requiring no installation for the user," says Skylar Challand, the founder of Oak. "The app is written in a PHP framework, but despite being a hosted app, the beauty of it is that it can publish to your own server, meaning you fully own your content."

The site organises a large amount of information and resources in a way that never feels cluttered or burdensome

Why create your own content management system when there are so many tried and tested ones available? "Siteleaf was born in response to the headache we've all experienced when setting up a new content management system, dealing with installs, updates, server technologies, theming," explains Challand. "Really it's less about features, and more that we can move quickly.

"Less time is spent on the painful and tedious parts of content management, allowing us to spend time on building a great product. It's mostly focused for simple sites or blogs where the idea of setting up an ExpressionEngine or custom Rails site is overkill."

This showcase was originally published in .net magazine issue 234.

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