Choosing Your Website Fonts: What You Need to Know
Published on 17th July 2019
The font – or fonts – used on your website should complement the other aspects of the design and work in harmony with every detail to create the best user experience.
This can sometimes mean that your favourite font is not necessarily the one you should be putting on your website – after all, it has a job to do, and is not simply there for decoration: it needs to function effectively.
Every aspect of your website needs to appeal to customers, and even the most brilliant copy cannot be appreciated if it is illegible.
This is why it’s so important to give careful consideration to the fonts you choose, so without further ado here are our top tips for how to pick the best options for your website:
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, and this is the key to understanding how font style can make such a difference.
An award-winning restaurant, for example, may opt for an elegant page title in an elaborate, cursive font that suits a sophisticated location. If such a venue were to have the same font as a nursery, with calls to action in a bright colours and giant, cartoon letters, this would clash with the company’s image, and most likely be unappealing to their target audience.
Crafting the perfect copy is a waste of time if it is delivered in a font which contradicts the intended tone, one that hinders all of the other design efforts on the page.
The first step is therefore to identify the desired tone of your writing, and find a font that suits this voice.
A lot of this comes down to knowing your audience. A target market of an older demographic may require a simple, slightly larger font, while a younger demographic may be more responsive to new designs and font formats which are less formal.
It can be helpful to consider how you would like people to feel when they’re reading it. Building excitement for a sale might call for large, confident letters, for example.
The font should complement your voice, not clash with it. Discuss the intended tone with your web designer, who will have more knowledge on the nuances of typography to help you make the right decision.
There are three main categories of font style: serif, sans serif, and script fonts. Each one has different strengths, and being aware of where they are best used can assist decisions on which one is right for your website.
Serif fonts have the most formal style, most commonly used in newspapers and printed books.
This font style gets its name from the ‘serif’ lines stretching from each letter, and the most popular choices include Times New Roman and Georgia.
These are classic, elegant fonts often used to appeal to an older demographic.
Sans serif fonts are fonts without any serif lines.
This makes them much easier to read on websites than serif fonts, and are therefore the most popular choice when it comes to web design.
Popular sans serif fonts include Helvetica, Ariel, and Futura.
Script fonts resemble handwriting.
They can be the perfect fit for an elegant headline but can make large bodies of text challenging to read, so are best used sparingly.
Popular script fonts include Lobster and Reklame Script.
To maintain a uniform look, you may wish to use variations of the same font for different sections of each page.
A heading may be placed in italics, made bold, or underlined for emphasis - rather than placed in a different font altogether - in order to establish cohesion.
First impressions are important, and an unappealing font style can drive customers elsewhere.
This is not simply a case of personal preference - practicality needs to take priority. The aim is to capture and hold a viewer’s attention, and if the font is challenging to read then people will click away.
A font choice may also differ from headers to bodies of text to calls to action. A header may be in a more decorative font, while the main body of text may adopt a simpler style so that it is easy to read.
It also needs to be relevant to the function of the words, for example a header is working differently to the main text.
Calls to action may require a larger font, in order to be as effective as possible. They are often in a different font in order to stand out from the rest of the copy.
The size of a font is another factor to consider, especially as the font size may alter slightly depending on whether the page is viewed on a computer or smartphone.
You should take into account the devices that your target audience are most likely to be using, and select a font that works best on their preferred medium.
Either way, the font should be readable no matter what device your website is accessed on.
Dos and don’ts of website fonts
Don’t use too many different font colours – especially if they will jar with your overall colour scheme. Aim for three altogether: a primary, secondary, and accent colour.
Do remember that sometimes less is more - ensure there is still plenty of white space to avoid overcrowding a page. A minimalist layout is far more professional than a daunting block of text, and places a greater emphasis on the product or service you are promoting. Your website should aid sales rather than distract from them, and you don’t want the page design to be the reason you lose a customer.
Don’t blindly follow trends – try not to choose a font just because your competitors are using it. It may look good on one website, but this does not mean it will suit the specific design of your business’s website.
So there you have it – everything you need to know to successfully choose the right fonts for your website and ensure that your content can be easily read.
Of course, if you’re still not sure which fonts will work best for your brand, this is something that any reliable web design company will be able to help you with.
Here at it’seeze, our talented design team are well-versed on the importance of effective typography and will be more than happy to source the most effective fonts for your business when designing your website.
Why not view our extensive design portfolio to see the variety of fonts we use throughout our designs, or get in contact with our friendly team to find out more about our professional web design services.
Lastly, a note on terminology – we’ve referred exclusively to website fonts throughout this guide, but you may also come across the term typeface when searching for fonts online.
Traditionally, typeface was used to describe a particular design of type, such as Times New Roman or Helvetica, whilst font was used to describe the different weights, styles, and sizes that make up that typeface, e.g. Times New Roman, size 12, bold.
However, with the rise of digital media, the two terms have become increasingly synonymous, with font and typeface now often used interchangeably to describe the style of text used within websites and computer programs.
To keep things simple, it’s widely accepted that everything text-based is referred to as the font, as this is the most commonly used term amongst the general public.
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