Responsive typography with modular scale, font stacks, and more.

stylus, css, typography, responsive
bower install typographic


Typographic is responsive typography made easy. Pick a few font stacks, set a few settings, and you've got beautiful responsive typography - it's that easy.


  • bower install typographic
  • @import Typographic somewhere in your stylesheet


It's as easy as setting a few variables in a custom settings file (or letting the defaults do their thing) and then calling the mixin typographic() with no arguments.


$line-height-ratio   = 1.75
$heading-ratio       = $golden
$body-font           = $helvetica
$body-font-weight    = 300
$body-color          = #666
$heading-font        = $helvetica
$heading-font-weight = 500
$heading-color       = #111
$min-font            = 13px
$max-font            = 20px
$min-width           = 600px
$max-width           = 1000px
$vertical-rhythm     = true


The ratios are based off of the ratios used on modular scale.

$minor-second   = 1.067
$major-second   = 1.125
$minor-third    = 1.2
$major-third    = 1.25
$perfect-fourth = 1.333
$aug-fourth     = 1.414
$perfect-fifth  = 1.5
$minor-sixth    = 1.6
$golden         = 1.618
$major-sixth    = 1.667
$minor-seventh  = 1.778
$major-seventh  = 1.875
$octave         = 2
$major-tenth    = 2.5
$major-eleventh = 2.667
$major-twelfth  = 3
$double-octave  = 4

Font Stacks

Stacks are picked from A Way Back's Revised Font Stack.

// Sans-serif

$calibri       = 'Calibri', 'Candara', 'Segoe', 'Segoe UI', 'Optima', 'Arial', 'sans-serif'
$candara       = 'Candara', 'Calibri', 'Segoe', 'Segoe UI', 'Optima', 'Arial', 'sans-serif'
$courier       = 'Courier New', 'Courier', 'Lucida Sans Typewriter', 'Lucida Typewriter', 'monospace'
$franklin      = 'Franklin Gothic Medium', 'Arial', 'sans-serif'
$futura        = 'Futura', 'Trebuchet MS', 'Arial', 'sans-serif'
$geneva        = 'Geneva', 'Tahoma', 'Verdana', 'sans-serif'
$gill-sans     = 'Gill Sans', 'Gill Sans MT', 'Calibri', 'sans-serif'
$helvetica     = 'Helvetica Neue', 'Helvetica', 'Arial', 'sans-serif'
$lucida-grande = 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'Lucida Sans', 'Geneva', 'Verdana', 'sans-serif'
$optima        = 'Optima', 'Segoe', 'Segoe UI', 'Candara', 'Calibri', 'Arial', 'sans-serif'
$segoe         = 'Segoe', 'Segoe UI', 'Helvetica Neue', 'Arial', 'sans-serif'
$tahoma        = 'Tahoma', 'Geneva', 'Verdana', 'sans-serif'
$trebuchet     = 'Trebuchet MS', 'Lucida Grande', 'Lucida Sans Unicode', 'Lucida Sans', 'Tahoma', 'sans-serif'
$verdana       = 'Verdana', 'Geneva', 'sans-serif'

// Serif

$antiqua       = 'Book Antiqua', 'Palatino', 'Palatino Linotype', 'Palatino LT STD', 'Georgia', 'serif'
$baskerville   = 'Baskerville', 'Baskerville old face', 'Hoefler Text', 'Garamond', 'Times New Roman', 'serif'
$bodoni        = 'Bodoni MT', 'Didot', 'Didot LT STD', 'Hoefler Text', 'Garamond', 'Times New Roman', 'serif'
$cambria       = 'Cambria', 'Georgia', 'serif'
$caslon        = 'Big Caslon', 'Book Antiqua', 'Palatino Linotype', 'Georgia', 'serif'
$constantia    = 'Constantia', 'Palatino', 'Palatino Linotype', 'Palatino LT STD', 'Georgia', 'serif'
$didot         = 'Didot', 'Didot LT STD', 'Hoefler Text', 'Garamond', 'Times New Roman', 'serif'
$garamond      = 'Garamond', 'Baskerville', 'Baskerville Old Face', 'Hoefler Text', 'Times New Roman', 'serif'
$goudy         = 'Goudy Old Style', 'Garamond', 'Big Caslon', 'Times New Roman', 'serif'
$hoefler       = 'Hoefler Text', 'Baskerville old face', 'Garamond', 'Times New Roman', 'serif'
$lucida-bright = 'Lucida Bright', 'Georgia', 'serif'
$palatino      = 'Palatino', 'Palatino Linotype', 'Palatino LT STD', "Book Antiqua", 'Georgia', 'serif'


Typographic comes equipped with 2 extremely handy helpers. One for previewing your vertical rhythm grid, and another for sizing and spacing elements so they adhere to your vertical rhythm.

The preview grid mixin is easy. It accepts a color and a positive or negative pixel offset parameter (for nudging your lines up to the bottom of text).

grid-overlay(blue, 2)

Note grid-overlay() behaves somewhat funny in smaller viewports when $min-font is set to an odd number. This is due to a floating issue. Just something to keep in mind if your vertical rhythm looks haywire on smaller devices. Fear not, it's fine.

The other helper is the vr-block() function, which returns sizes of your vertical rhythm. For instance, if you want to include an image that takes up 5.25 vertical units height and has a margin-bottom of .25 vertical unit (as in our demo), you could create it like this:

  height: vr-block(5.25)
  margin-bottom: vr-block(.25)

vr-block() accepts a second parameter for pixel offsetting to help nudge your elements back onto the vertical rhythm in case they are off by a pixel or two.

Usage with Node

var fs = require('fs'),
    stylus = require('stylus'),
    typographic = require('typographic');

stylus(fs.readFileSync('./css/style.styl', 'utf8'))
  .render(function(err, css){
    if (err) return console.error(err);
@import 'typographic'

$min-font: 14px


Browser Support

  • Full support for IE9+
  • IE8 doesn't support calc or viewport units or media queries by default so you shouldn't support it (you will get $min-font for all viewport sizes), but if you have a stingy client, you can include these polyfills to at least have it swap between the $max-font and $min-font at your specified breakpoint.


  • Slow in Sass because Sass doesn't support calculating decimals in exponents by default. Luckily you only have to change a few variables to get your compiled typography stylesheet then you can un-import Typographic. If lack of solid math in native Sass bothers you, please chime in on this issue.
  • Vertical rhythm doesn't really work with headings. It looks fine on h1, h2, and h3, but the line-height gets out of control on smaller headings. I've added a $vertical-rhythm setting to fall back to decent looking typography that isn't focused on vertical rhythm for just this case.