When you’re focused on designing a website, it can be easy to overlook the importance of fonts. However, fonts play a role in the ultimate effectiveness of the site’s performance, appearance, and clarity.
By understanding the aspects of fonts that make them so significant, you can ensure your site is cleaner-looking and better-functioning.
Opt for Sans Serif, or a Mix of Serif and Sans Serif
Sans serif fonts have fewer details, which makes them the preferred font among many professional web designers. Yet it can be tempting to consider some of the newer serif fonts, which may be perfect for your brand.
What should you do if you’re caught between a sans serif and serif font decision? Balance the benefits of the two.
In general, headers and larger text should be designed in sans serif to make certain they are highly readable and don’t get pixelated. Turn to serif fonts for text-heavy sections of content that are typically going to be smaller in font size, and therefore less apt to become distorted.
Want to see a good mix of sans serif and serif in action? Ocean City NJ’s website is a great example of best practices.
Make Sure the Font Looks Good When It’s Bigger
Although your font may look terrific in 10 point or 12 point, what will it look like when a user wants to blow it up to 14 point, 16 point, or larger? This isn’t unheard of, especially with mobile devices and laptops featuring touch screen technologies.
Do a little experiment and see whether your font looks appealing when it’s bigger. You might find that it has a strange look or that it appears childish when it’s not in a smaller font size. That’s a big indicator you need a better font. Don’t worry — there are tons to choose from, and more are available every day!
Check out the Font Spacing
You’ve fallen in love with a font and think it would be ideal for your website. There’s only one problem: When you put it into your framework, the spacing is all off. Words look odd, as they feature unnatural spaces between certain letters.
If this happens to you, it may be worth your while to adjust the font. You’ll have to spend a little time on the micro elements of the typography. Then, you should test it on a variety of screens to be sure you haven’t missed anything.
The goal is for your font to appear seamless, not clunky.
Be Certain All Your Characters Translate in the Font
Have you ever been to a website where the content was obviously just cut and pasted onto the page? The results can be disastrous. Many times, sites that haven’t been edited for font discrepancies boast unusual characters or characters that have been replaced with symbols. This is especially true with foreign symbols, like French accent marks and German umlauts.
Another concern is quotation marks and apostrophes. Double-check your website before going live, especially if you have used a cut-and-paste method of adding content.
Go for Color Contrast — Within Reason
It’s not a strange coincidence that the majority of websites have black or very dark text on a white or light background. This is to best contrast the fonts from their surroundings and improve the readability of the site.
With this being said, please note that reverse contrasting, such as white font on a black background, is hard on most people’s eyes. For this reason, use caution with reversing your fonts. It may look wonderful to you, but will your visitors feel that way when they are squinting to read?
Keep Your Website Loading Quickly by Investigating Newer Fonts
Some font packages will slow down the loading time of your site, which is never wise. Investigate any fonts you haven’t used before. You need to know that they will enhance your website, not make it frustrating for visitors to use.
Make Certain Your Fonts Are Consistent Across Your Site
Choose fonts that will be used throughout your website, and don’t look back. It’s a newbie mistake to have different fonts — and font sizes — on different webpages. Consistency will improve the overall professionalism of your website.
Go out and Have Some Font Fun!
Of course, an exciting aspect of fonts is that there are practically unlimited combinations. Your options are limited only by your creativity — which should be tempered a bit with your knowledge about font best practices.