There are lots of things that you need to consider when you are building your website, but the first thing on your mind probably isn't fonts. Nevertheless, fonts are one of the most important components to web design and choosing the right one could mean the difference between a successful website and a mess than nobody wants to look at.
We are only talking fonts, right? Well, Steve Jobs famously kicked a developer off a project because he didn't share his enthusiasm for calligraphy. Choice of font has been shown to have a big impact on readability, retainability, and comprehension. You want all three things in your readers no matter what the content of your website is. So how do you know which font is right for you?
Let's take a closer look.
Fonts are a visual medium
Your fonts will need to have a structure that makes it easy for your readers to scan your content. Some fancier fonts such as gothic or comic sans may not be the best choices. Take into consideration if a given font is distracting from the message that it is designed to convey. The very best fonts are easy on the eye and do not make the reader think too much about any given character.
Focus is key
The readability of a font is often determined by how well it brings a given word into focus. Take a moment to stare at the font letter by letter. Are there some letters that don't look right within the font? If a letter within the font alphabet doesn't look the way you think that letter should look, it may make it difficult to focus on what is said when it is used in a word.
Go for subtly over style... but not too much
Often the best font is the one that the reader doesn't even notice. Subtle fonts like Arial and Times New Roman are popular fonts, but they lack style and may seem boring. You may be able to find a reasonable compromise between the two extremes, with a font that is subtle enough to not distract from the message while having a little bit of a stylish kick that best represents what your product or service stands for.
When you have finally decided on the right font or fonts for your website, there will still be choices to be made. What will the ideal font size be? Will you need to code multiple fonts into a style sheet? Will you need other attributes, such as bold or italic text? While you may not have considered fonts to be as important of a design element as graphics or coloring, you may realize at this point that they take a lot more thought than you expected. Your fonts will be an essential part of how your visitors interact with your site and how well they connect with your message.
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