20th January 2015 | By: filipecf
Typography in web design
Back in ye olde internet days if you wanted to display typography the same way on a range of different computers, you were somewhat limited for choice. Since we were given the glorious gift of embedding fonts in websites, a whole new world of tailoring and personalization opened up.
There’s an art in being able to turn type into a legible and beautiful laid out page. This is particularly important in press printing, as once you’ve committed, there’s no going back. Fortunately, as web designers we have it a little bit easier.
Picking the right typeface is an important part of building any website. It immediately sets the tone for the user and begins to create an atmosphere for them before they’ve even had a chance read a word or click a button. It plays just as big of a role as the images, colours and even the layout you adopt.
In fact, choosing the right typeface is so important that it plays a big part of the branding process and why there are specific rules defined in branding guidelines for it. Much like designing a logo or choosing a colour scheme, you need to know what you want your choice of typeface to say to the user. Do you want your site to have a fun and relaxed attitude? Or do you want to be professional and serious? Are you going for an edgy modern feel? Or an old-fashioned vintage look? You wouldn’t choose Comic Sans as the main font for a hedge fund, but it would be right at home on a website for kids.
Things to keep in mind
The key to displaying typography successfully comes down to following a few simple rules.
Every font is different. Even if they look the same. Typefaces can be tall or short, narrow or wide and thin or thick. Some are serif and some are sans-serif. All these different characteristics play a role towards building a personality for a typeface. It’s always worth trying these out beforehand, as a typeface might never look quite exactly how you imagined it until you actually put it to use wherever it is you’re planning. You also might not have expected it to take up quite as much room on the page as you had imagined and making the text smaller no longer maintains the clarity and legibility the user expects.
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Headings and subheadings
Typography plays a large part in guiding the user through their journey on your site and defining a style for your headings and subheadings have a duty to fulfil in doing so. If all text was the same height, weight and style, it would be very hard for the user to know what the most important information is and where to focus their attention.
Equally important for the user experience is the the line spacing you use. Too little and your text will look congested. The other side of that coin is that too much will look disjointed and won’t flow well. Luckily for us, we can alter this whenever we like with the line-height property. The general rule of thumb is that the line height should be somewhere between 1.25 – 1.5 times your font size, however it never hurts to adjust it accordingly as what you feel is neat and clear.