Web Design 101: Typography
One of the most overlooked elements of any website design is the typography. It’s such a simple site component that can make a huge impact, however, so it’s a good idea to spend some time thinking about the way type affects your website. Remember, if content is king, as the saying goes, then isn’t the way that the content is presented visually on the screen even more important than how flashy navigation is, or how beautifully designed your div tables are?
Let’s Get Reading
Specifically, typography refers to fonts. This seems like it would be a very miniscule matter, but the evidence certainly suggests otherwise. In fact, certain designers even say that typography is 95% of design. Typography is the difference between a perfectly polished site for your customers to eagerly consume your content from and a lemonade stand.
Speaking of lemonade stands, this image is a perfect example of the importance of typography (this is obviously not a web page, but typography is also important in anything that displays the written word, like books or signs). In the above image, the first sign is being mocked for using Comic Sans with a second sign requesting that the maker of the first not use Comic Sans since they are at a Fortune 500 company, not a lemonade stand.
Font face affects the way that humans interact with what they are reading. Comic Sans gives an impression of, well, comic books and childish imagery. Think about Apple’s iconic font and how it feeds into the brand image of sleek and intuitive. Logos take advantage of typography and use it to create brand images.
But What About My Site?
In terms of how to use typography in a website, a sign of the best typography is… lack of awareness on the reader’s part that any thought was put into it whatsoever. You definitely don’t want your typography to stick out to your reader too much – the idea is that good typography is easy to read and virtually unnoticeable. Think about it this way: bad typography makes things hard to read. Good typography makes life easy.
Realizing the importance of typography is the first step. Using it is quite another. If you want to get inspired, take a look at these incredible examples of typography. Pay attention to how each example makes you “feel” – does it feel professional? Fun loving? Creative? Clean? Old fashioned? Take note and then examine how the type on the page makes you feel that way.
You might be surprised at how much impact that Impact (or any other font) can have on a website’s design.