Firefox 2, Mac, and Calibri don’t mix.

Okay, this is an odd one. I’m working on my new site and experimenting with typography. I’ve installed the Windows ‘Vista’ fonts on my Mac system, because I want some sense of how things will look in Vista as I develop web sites. And because, hey, you know, free fonts.

I really think Microsoft did a decent job with some of these; my favorite, by far, is Calibri. I think it makes quite elegant body copy online. So while in the testing stages, I left it as my primary font-face for the new site. Turns out there’s a problem with that. I noticed that some of the text was missing on several of my pages, and upon further scrutiny, it turns out that it was still present in the layout, just not … visible.

Hey, where did that text go?

Screenshot of Firefox 3
Screenshot of Firefox 3
Screenshot of Firefox 2
Screenshot of Firefox 2
Text selected in Firefox 2—it's there!
Text selected in Firefox 2 - you can see that the text is present, if not visible.

As you can see from these screenshots, text which is showing up normally in Firefox 3 (and other browsers I checked, including FF2/Win). But in Firefox 2, it’s just plain missing. This kind of threw me.

After some experimenting w/ my style sheet, I established that if I removed #content { font-size: 1.3em } from my styles, the text appeared again. (Or, as I later discovered, if I resized the text enough, but I had to enlarge it about 3 times!) I could also bump it up to 1.4em, and the text showed up again.

I’d never seen this before, and since Firefox 2 was until very recently my primary browser (I’ve been reluctant to move to 3) this was an odd one.

After exploring further, I realized that Calibri was the culprit. I’d specified it at the front of my font-family list (font stack seems to be the new term de rigeur). As soon as I moved it down the list, so that I’d pick up another font first, Firefox 2 was happy.

Now, probably not all that many Mac users have installed Calibri and then come to your site. But still, handle with care.

Sigh. I really liked Calibri, too.