If you want to design a website, choosing the perfect font is one of the essential elements. Not only does it need to be readable and easily legible, but it should also fit in with the theme and personality of your site. It’s not just about picking characters you like either—every character has a particular role on the page which you should consider when creating your font.
Font Styles, Choices, and Categories
There are hundreds of different styles, choices, and variations when it comes to fonts. Two fonts might look similar, but they can have very different personalities. There are thousands of fonts, making choosing the perfect font very difficult. The following is a list of the font styles and categories you’ll want to consider when choosing your font:
- Serif fonts have tiny lines at the ends of characters. They’re often more organic than sans-serif fonts and are more legible in smaller sizes. During the early days of the internet, most websites used serif fonts as this was the standard way to set type for most of history.
- Sans serif fonts don’t have serifs and are often more geometric and open feeling than serif fonts. They are harder to read at smaller sizes because they lack serifs, but they generally work well for the larger sizes used for setting type on computer screens.
- Script fonts have swashes and flourishes, which make them look more creative than regular font styles. Book/script fonts often make headlines look more exotic and appealing. Script fonts are less legible than other font styles and can be hard to read at smaller sizes.
- Decorative fonts take the center stage of a design with unique and often complex shapes and textures. Decorative fonts are difficult to read when set at small sizes or for large bodies of text, so they should only be used for headlines or slogans.
- Handwriting fonts have the appearance of being handwritten or calligraphic. As a result, they tend to look more creative and artistic than serif or sans serif font styles. Handwriting fonts are less legible than regular fonts and should only be used for headlines or logos.
Regarding font size, there are two primary elements of a website to consider: headlines and body text. When choosing a size for your website’s body text or paragraphs, it’s important to not go too small and risk straining your reader’s eyes. On the other hand, too large body text will result in more line breaks and an uncomfortable, choppy reading experience. Headlines should be large enough to clearly stand out from body paragraphs. A good rule of thumb is to make your smallest headlines around 1.5 times larger than your body text.
Font Weight and Spacing
If you want your font to be easily legible, then your spacing should be consistent. This means that it shouldn’t be too close together (which makes it harder to read) or too spaced out (which can also make it harder to read). When choosing your font, you should also carefully consider the weight of your font—some fonts come in a broad range of weights from thin to extra bold. Depending on the font, you might want to choose a different weight to make your website’s text easier to read.
Line Height or Leading
Line height refers to the amount of space between each line of text. This was traditionally referred to as “leading” because of the use of lead blocks to add space between each line of moveable type on a printing press. Striking the right balance is crucial here—not enough space between each line will result in tight, uncomfortable paragraphs to read. Too much space, on the other hand, makes a body of text feel disjointed. A good rule of thumb is that large amounts of text need extra breathing room between each line, while headlines and other short sentences will need less line height to feel comfortable.
Font Color and Contrast
While color might not seem important, it can make a massive difference in the font. Use contrasting colors on your page (for example, black text on a white background) to make your font more readable. Also, make sure that your font color doesn’t blend in with the rest of your website—choose something which can easily stand out from the background. This is especially important when considering website accessibility web design for people in San Marcos who are color blind or have other vision impairments.
When choosing your font, you need a font that is both easy to read and available on the web. If you find a fascinating font, but it’s only available in PDF format or as a Word document, then you won’t be able to use it on a website. Thankfully, there are lots of resources available for finding web-safe fonts such as Google Fonts, which has a huge selection of professional designs to choose from. You can also purchase fonts in San Marcos and anywhere around the world for use on a web design website if your project has the budget for it.
Alignment and Positioning
Alignment refers to how your text is positioned on the page—how it’s centered, right-aligned, left-aligned, etc. It also refers to where your line of text starts (on an upper baseline or near a lower baseline) and how far away your line of text is from an edge (to make it look more attractive). Usually, you want to choose something easy to read while also being aesthetically pleasing. Your line of text should be in a prominent position with plenty of “breathing room.” When in doubt, it’s best to default to left alignment to best facilitate left-to-right reading.
Font Family and Theme
Like most other elements on your website, the font needs to match the theme of your website. This is the advice of most website developers/designers around the globe as well as ours here in Austin, Texas. Your font must match the overall style of your website—if you’ve chosen a minimalist theme, you’re probably going to want a minimalist font as well (sans serifs are great options for this). It’s also important that your fonts are consistent across your website. Choosing different fonts for headlines, body text, and footnotes can add some great web design variety—but make sure that each headline, paragraph, or footnote uses the same font to avoid clutter and confusion for those visiting your website in San Marcos. Don’t be afraid to try out different fonts to find the perfect match!
Font Extensions, Tags, and Unicode Status
As you might have guessed, extension refers to the file format of your font—whether it is an OpenType file or an EOT file (more information on this later). Tags tell you whether or not your font has been optimized for the web. If a font used in your web design is optimized, browsers in San Marcos can display that font more easily and quickly. Unicode status refers to whether or not your font has been internationalized— it hasn’t if you can’t type Chinese, Japanese, etc., in it.
Font Licensing and Copyright
When choosing a font—especially a free font—you need to make sure it’s legal to use on your website. Some fonts might have a free license, while others might not. Some fonts might require you to pay money to use them, while others are free but with some restrictions. When choosing your font, make sure it’s legal to use on your website or risk being taken down by the authorities.
Font File Size
When it comes to font file size, you should ensure that your font file isn’t too large. Multiple font files will increase the time it takes for your website to load, which can be frustrating for your users. Try to keep your font files relatively small—this way, it loads much more quickly. A good way to do this is to not have every weight or style of a typeface load if you are only using a few variations. Stick to a light, medium, and heavy weight with regular and italics of each.
Ultimately, you want to choose a font that is easy to read and doesn’t take up too much space on your website. You also want it to match the theme of your website. Choosing a font can be pretty tricky—but it has to be both unique and readable while also matching the theme of your website. Don’t be afraid to take risks and experiment to find the perfect fonts for your web design project in San Marcos!
Web Development in Austin & San Marcos, TX
If you are interested in improving the look and feel of your website, the team at tekRESCUE can help. Even something so much as changing the font on your website and improving readability can gain your site increased flow in traffic. Give us a call or visit our site to chat with us more about possible web design projects for your business in Austin or San Marcos.