Typography (type) is the “science” of lettering, and as such, is guided by some rules.
For most websites, people must want to read the text on it. Photography websites may as well have an ugly type, it won’t affect the users much since they’re there to check the artist’s portfolio. Chances are that artists will invest a lot into the font, but theoretically speaking, they don’t have to.
In all other cases, you’re going to have to explain to your client why Copperplate won’t work.
Because people need to subconsciously enjoy the experience with both their souls and retinas so much, that they stay on the page, read the important stuff, and perform an action you wanted them to. This is how you solve the riddle: by giving them well-thought-out typography, the users have a much better experience and consequently buy your stuff even though they might have planned differently. Yes, that’s how powerful type is.
People sometimes cannot pinpoint what made them keep scrolling, because of the type’s subtle. But if they dislike it, that would be one of the first things to notice. Better go under the radar than be all over the place then.
1) Choosing the Font
It’s the emotional labor. You need to analyze clients and their business idea carefully to get the gist of it, then find the type that’ll transform it into an emotional experience.
We’ve seen it so many times, if it’s a modern enterprise, designers go to sans serifs, period. But sometimes it’s not enough. Especially when it’s predictable.
If you’re a young designer, you need to learn to tweak the fonts so that they work best for the project. Think about buying premium fonts. They are premium for a reason: they are exceptional, whereas others may be just fine. The difference is in the craft and quality- they work perfectly even if you use an extra small size, and preserve their character. Be intentional with your choice.
“Good typography can never be humorous. It is precisely the opposite of adventure.”, Jan Tschichold said.
2) Font Pairs
In case you need to pair various fonts, go with no more than two different ones. Experienced designers, such as those form Web design company Houston know how to do it in a blink of an eye. But if you’re still learning, you can always consult Typewolf or read all the tips in a typography handbook, such as Professional Web Typography.
Or go to a playground (pun intended).
When it comes to the thickness of the letters (basically), again, it’s wise not to go wild, but pick two or three different weights. Because you don’t need a heavyweight champion, you just need letters to differentiate between the obviously different text parts, such as titles, headers, plain text, etc.
Whatever you end up with, avoid ultra black and ultralight, for people can’t really read them, which is the sole purpose of any text, right?
4) T r a c k i n g
It’s this space between letters. Some fonts are fantastic, but eat up the whole horizontal space and cannot squeeze where needed. If you’ve found your favorite font and struggle with the same problem, try reducing the space between them. They will look tight enough. On top of that, with greater element proximity comes greater coherence.
This less-than-intuitive jargon also refers to spacing, but between the lines. Very important for any piece loaded with text, needed to increase legibility in the first place. And overall look. Here’s the rule: increase it, but not too much. It’s about striking balance.
No one will read a text too dense. It’s difficult for scanning (what most people actually do), and all in all demotivating.
What really matters on any website is the solution to a client’s problem, and if it is buried in the pile of illegible text, other fabulous design tricks won’t help. Visitors must not struggle to get your message.
– Typography should be consistent. It should be seen, so don’t afraid to put it against the negative space.
– Internet users are used to some funky, magazine-like alignment. They are not reading a book, after all.
- Hierarchy tells us things apart, also, it tells us what’s hot and what’s not on the website.
There’s more to be found in the hilarious Practical Typography Handbook:
- Don’t underline stuff. Better use bolds or italics, if you must. But try not to use them either. BTW, they may look good only with serif fonts.
- If you opt for a monospaced font (Hello Courier!), you’ll end up with a smaller number of words
- Silly fonts are for billboards. Or not. If people need to actually read things on your website, avoid them at all costs.
Typography is important in all textual pieces. Don’t overuse it, but don’t underuse it either. Great typography shall make a great design.
And simple is great. Boring isn’t.
Liam Collins is a tech pundit and Web enthusiast working at TuiSpace.com. He spends most of his time reading and writing about the current affairs in the world of information technology. When he isn’t working, he likes going for long bike rides and walks in nature.