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304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
A lot goes into designing a website. As a designer, you have to envision and conceptualize and then execute on your designing plan.
An important aspect, which both baffle designers and which they don’t pay a lot of attention to is the typography and fonts. Typography and by default the font face you use can determine the result drastically.
The objective of every website is to convey information, serve a purpose and fonts are important in doing that. With tens of thousands of fonts available today, you can choose one that adds on to the website instead of looking out of place or worse being counter-objective.
Ever noticed how Times New Roman has an official feel to it while Comic Sans has a quirky fun touch? That’s the power of fonts; it gives the website a character, a persona of its own. So the type of fonts you employ can affect your brand perception.
News and educational websites have professional fonts, Like Harvard Business Review is written in Guardian while sites with a fun theme to it can either use one from the predetermined list or use one of the special fonts available.
However, note that when using a special font that is available on the net, it should be of a superior quality and should not affect the user experience in any way. It should not be chunky as that would reduce the loading speed, affecting the user experience, and eventually costing you in the form of page abandonment.
Using the same type of calligraphic font is an excellent way to keep consistency throughout the website. A website will have different pages and each catering to a different purpose but to ensure that from a macro perspective there’s uniformity between these pages, you can use similar fonts.
Somewhere ties up with the other and does not look out of place, as if it’s a separate concept altogether. While colors also play a huge part in maintaining uniformity, fonts can help in an effortless way.
Determine content hierarchy as you see fit
Mostly, the content hierarchy goes chronologically where the content is laid down in the essence of their importance. But that’s not how things are- the content you choose to list down might not be the order of important you would want from the reader’s perspective.
Let’s take the example of this piece written in Harvard Business Review. If we go chronologically, then the first point the users would have ideally read is ‘Own your day..” but the first thing that draws the reader’s attention is “if you want people to read..” This is possible because of playing around with fonts, via a strategic choice of font size.
The fonts you use – the color, size, etc. – can heavily determine how and in which order your content is perceived and read. Have a look at this awesome Mr. Moustache fonts.
Notice how whenever you see something in blue, you automatically think it’s a link? That’s the power of just changing something as small as the color of the font.
Similarly, the way you want to present messages and to differentiate between them, you can simply play around with the font – use a different color, embolden to highlight a point, italicize to emphasize a point, or only use two different font types.
Creative fonts can help to bring out the atmosphere of a content piece or the entire website in a way that it adds on to the purpose of it. Does your website need to convey a certain quantum of a fun element to it or maintain an earnest appeal? Your fonts can help you achieve that.
Typography would probably make up for more than 80% of your design. It has a very high weight as the entire purpose of a website is to make readers read your content. And the textual part of your content is written in different fonts.
Understand the website requirement – Whatever decision you take from the design perspective, should be in tune with what the website needs from a broader and particular perspective. What is it that your font should cater to? What tone and image should it convey? Is it aligned with the overall brand perspective and does it fit in the scheme of things?
Does it complement or does it distract – An ideal font should complement the content and not distract from it. Too many times wrong fonts are used and which overpower content, thereby working against it. It is best to use a font that besides catering to the overall objectives also supports the content and not takes away from it.
The background and color scheme – Your font – both the size and style – should find a balance with the color of the background it would be put on and also the overall color scheme. In short, it should not stick out like a sore thumb.
While it works in some case, most of the time it will affect the uniformity across pages. However, you have to think from the design perspective for the website, will it be a better fit for this particular internet site. Will it enhance the look and feel of it, or will it be counterproductive, Be cognizant of the fact that a mix of typefaces mostly wouldn’t work but if you can fit this in, blend it well, and pull it off smartly, it could be your site’s USP?
Fonts and typefaces is an essential element on any website and as a designer, you should pay this right amount of consideration as it has the power to influence your design in a big way.