adam's grump of the day: icons in fonts (was Re: web-assets-httpd stuck in limbo?)

Matthias Clasen mclasen at
Thu Jan 16 15:52:09 UTC 2014

On Wed, 2014-01-15 at 22:31 -0800, Adam Williamson wrote:
> On Wed, 2014-01-15 at 22:59 -0700, T.C. Hollingsworth wrote:
> > * Another individual thought that all web authors are stupid for
> > wanting to use fancy fonts and that I am wasting my time.  (He might
> > be right about that last bit... :-P)
> While we're doing asides, that one *does* get right on my nerves.
> If anyone overrides font choices in their browser config and wonders why
> an increasing number of sites - inc. github, and the wordpress admin
> interface - seem to display weird hieroglyphs all over the place, it's
> because of this "clever trick": web designers have decided that it's a
> really good idea to abuse font rendering engines as a way to render
> icons, and starting shipping icons as made-up Unicode codepoints in
> their sites' custom fonts. If you override their font choice, then of
> course these icons wind up as garbage, because your font does not have
> them, because ICONS AREN'T FUCKING TEXT CHARACTERS, web designers.

It makes a lot of sense, actually. At least the symbolic icons that have
become prevalent in our uis share a lot of characteristics with text,
and can benefit from getting the same treatment as glyphs.

We've been discussing this as an option for rendering symbolic icons in
GTK+ too.

More information about the devel mailing list