Daily Archives: April 24, 2013

How to Choose Website Fonts

Samples of the web fonts: Times New Roman, Arial, Courier, Helvetica, Verdana, and Georgia.

Web font samples

The look of your website affects how your customers think about you and your business. You need an easy-to-navigate layout, a professional-looking logo, and site colors that reflect your business. In addition, your choice of website fonts sends a subtle, but very important, message about your brand.

While you can take your pick of the countless fonts available on the web, you should put some thought into your decision. You’ll want fonts that are web-safe and easy to read online. You want a font that says you’re trustworthy and a professional. At the same time, you want to be consistent with your personality and brand, whether it’s a straight-laced legal site or one with a bit of whimsy and fun.

Web-safe Fonts

Not all fonts available for download are web-safe. You want your site’s content to be readable to everyone who visits, wherever they may be, and whatever device or web browser they may be using. Web-safe fonts help eliminate barriers such as broken layouts and misaligned text.  Examples of these widely-used website fonts are Times New Roman, Arial, Courier, Helvetica, Verdana, and Georgia.

Font Size

Reading material on the web is different from reading print. While the 12-point font size is commonly used for letters and other print documents, it is not always a good choice for websites.

Don’t make your readers squint when they visit your website. Make the experience as comfortable and as pleasant as you can. The web standard today is 14-16 points for most online text. This size makes your content easy to read for most users.

For headers (eg., post titles and subtitles within the text), use slightly bigger fonts to make scanning easier.

Simple vs. Fancy Fonts

The general rule in website design is to use simple fonts for the majority of the content. However, there’s also a place for fancy fonts.

If you work in a creative industry, or one that places a premium on artistic ability, a clever sprinkling of a fancy or unique font will help boost a reader’s perception of your skills. You’ll see examples of these in websites for graphic designers, fancy restaurants, illustrators, fabric artists, etc. Such fancy fonts will be out of place for most construction firms, doctors’ clinics, etc., which should go for simpler typography.

A Note About Color

While your website’s color scheme should reflect your brand and logo, you should still strive for readability and a clean overall look. When it comes to the content area, the best approach is a black or dark grey font against a white or nearly white background.

Exceptions can be made for media-heavy sites (those that have mostly videos and photos). But if text is your primary content, black-on-white in the post area is your best bet. You can spice up your website with color elsewhere (header image, sidebar buttons, links, title text, etc.).

Your website fonts are among the easiest design elements to change. However, their effects on your web presence are also easy to overlook. Use these design tips to make sure that every detail of your website conforms with your marketing values and goals.