choosing typography web Choosing Effective Typography for Successful Website Design

An often ignored, but very important, aspect of website design is the kind of typography that designers choose to use. There are plenty of factors that must be taken into consideration in order to ensure that the correct typography is chosen in the website’s design. The focus should always be on practical typography, which is essentially the kind of typography that is flexible enough to meet the needs and requirement of the website over the long term.

 

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The focus should always be on Readability

This is pretty elementary and you won’t get any prize for guessing this one. The typeface must make reading extremely simple and convenient. Your readers must be able to enjoy reading the content on your website and you shouldn’t make it a test for their eyesight. Remember, an extremely readable font, means a job half accomplished when it comes to website design. Keeping your type as readable as possible is the key to a website that not only attracts but also converts.

 

Don’t overthink your Typefaces

Yes, agreed you have to choose the right typeface, but one of the cardinal sins of making the right choice is overthinking. Designers are right when they don’t want to trudge down the beaten track, but the point here is that it’s ok to choose a typeface that is commonly used in website design. Take the case of Helvetica. Yes, it’s a typeface that is one of the most overused typefaces ever, but there is no taking away from the fact that it looks good and meets every parameter that determines a ‘good’ typeface. What you want is a typeface that works, so why not go ahead and use it. Don’t keep thinking about the kind of typefaces that will work and the ones that wouldn’t. Otherwise, you might make the wrong choice.

A good font is one that is readable. Pure and simple!

 

Proper Pairing

A pair is called a pair because it is perfectly matched. Proper pairing of typefaces is of tremendous significance and plays an important role when you choose a typeface. Most web designers follow a golden rule of making the right choice – One typeface for body copy and another one for Titles. Most website, use two typefaces, but these must be able to complement each other perfectly. They must work in tandem, and deliver the website’s message perfectly and without causing any problems to the reader. What designers should look for is an effective partnership between the two typefaces that makes up for each other shortfalls.

 

Hierarchal Visualization

Whenever a website visitor comes to a website, his/her subconscious immediately begins to assimilate, evaluate and analyze the visual hierarchy of the web page. This is how their brains start making sense of all the design elements on the web page. And the typeface plays a very important role in the scheme of things. Choose a typeface that can be easily integrated and molded to suit the visual hierarchy of the website. There are four factors that contribute towards an effective visual hierarchy and these are size, color, weight and placement; and the typeface becomes a very important tool that promotes this hierarchy. The color of the typeface, its placement on the web page, its size and its weight, all play an important role in in bringing out the hierarchy of the visual elements on the page.

 

Being Unique

Your first focus of attention when it comes to typeface is readability. Once you have got that sorted out, and in the event that you want to go one step ahead, you need to ensure that your typography is unique. This can be done by choosing a unique typeface. Here, the idea is to choose a typeface not based on how it looks, but the kind of emotions that it is able to encourage. Looking and feeling different are two very different things, and it is the whole idea of ‘feeling’ different that works. Even if the typeface grabs attention, it must be able to do so with subtlety. Rather than being upfront about how different it looks, readers must be allowed to feel its difference. You might not believe it, but this fact is of tremendous when it comes to readability. Subconsciously, readers feel connected with the typeface at some level. This means they are about to appreciate it better.

Whatever has been mentioned above, can effectively be called a birds-eye-view of all the various considerations that go into the choosing of the right typeface. We have definitely scratched the surface, but the depths are essentially limitless. This is because like everything else in design, choice of the right typeface is a more of a subjective matter than anything else. So, designers need to keep their thinking as simple and straightforward as possible. Not trying to be overtly smart is the key.

 

Some great examples

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About Hazel

Hazel Raoult has written 2 post on web design mash.

Hazel Raoult is working with PLAVEB – A web design service provider company in Los Angeles, California that offers eCommerce website design along with other services. She is well experienced in web design and development. She likes to be updated with the latest news regarding the tech world. With a love for the written word, she likes to share her experience and opinions with other like minded people.



27 Responses

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  6. Robin Cannon
    Jan 19, 2012 - 08:35 PM

    Good points on balancing uniqueness and function.

    Also very important, and often overlooked, is taking into account offline (i.e. physical media) use of typefaces. A website may only be part of an overall brand, with that brand also maintained in letterheads, business cards etc. That involves not only different design considerations, but also different font licensing issues too.

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