Typography in Web Design

A background of vintage metal letterpress type

When browsing online, typography is viewers first impression. It creates an experience and atmosphere communicating a message and personality. When deciding on a font, you have to ask how you want your user to feel? The audience relies on the text to communicate a message so has to be a priority for any web designer.

The details in the typeface add meaning to the design. For example, soft lines and stroke weights lend towards delicate and elegant definitions.

Here are a few main things to consider:

LEGIBILITY – Can you read the body text quickly?  Type set for the use on websites should be tracked a little looser than it would be in print.  Consistent light strokes, reducing the variation in strokes between thick and thin tends to make the sentence more readable.

CONTRAST – When pairing typefaces it is important that they are both distinct, very different fonts so they can play off each other. When they are too similar, it weakens the message.  I do not recommend mixing more than two types, it takes a lot of skill and practice to make this happen successfully.

MESSAGE – Be clear about the message you want to communicate up front, and then look for typefaces that represent these qualities. For example, a serious strong message is best conveyed in a font like Franklin Gothic.  The treatment of the text can be every bit as relevant to the message as the words themselves.

CULTURAL IMPLICATIONS – Most typefaces have a cultural influence, so it is important to be aware of these, so they are relevant to your message.  Typography as a method of changing mean to a symbolic system often shares a common experience with the forms and convention of representation.

INTUITION – Trust your intuition as sometimes two fonts just look right together!

teamSimon is a Sydney based digital designer. He is the Director of a boutique digital design studio, Bailey Street Design located in the vibrant inner west suburb of Newtown.  Simon studied graphic design at Shillington College and specialises in web design for small and medium size businesses.  Simon and his team (Toby the studio dog) are passionate about visual communication in the digital environment

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