The book that really set this off for me was The Elements of Typographic Style, which tries to explain the history behind typography and summarise them into a couple of simple rules (yes, and it tells you to break the rules). The odd thing about the book is that it is a strange size, but that works out well. It's a beautifully designed book and everyone should have a read through it. It points out various minor things: one of the neatest is that bullet points should be in the margin, not in the body text. It shows an example of this and it looks so sweet that I've decided I hate HTML for forcing such ugly design on us.
After reading the book, I looked around for nice fonts and have found myself using Adobe Jenson Pro regularly. See how use.perl.org looks using this font. I particularly like its T, e, t, z and colons. I think Mac OS X's rendering technology is a big factor in why this looks good. Adobe Jenson Pro Italic looks nice too.
Typography isn't new. The font is based upon a design by Nicolas Jenson which he did about 530 years ago. Surprisingly little has changed since, apart from recent new trends like slab sans serifs and general font abusing. Yes, distressed fonts are very clever, but don't use them everywhere.
I haven't been only using Jenson for surfing the web, I've also been inflicting it upon other people via my slides. Amusingly, Elian presented his Parrot slides using an ugly, minimal blue-on-yellow design, and I had the pretty Jenson and orange ones. He definitely won on the content versus presentation angle, but I think I won the other way around. Even if nobody enjoyed my content, at least they had a pleasant design to look at while they chatted on IRC during my talk
If you remember one thing about this journal entry, it should be that fonts are pretty, design is good and it's boring having everything using Helvetica.
Now if only we had decent free fonts...