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How to Choose the Perfect Font for Your Website and Advertisementsby@lanamiro
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How to Choose the Perfect Font for Your Website and Advertisements

by Lana MiroFebruary 15th, 2023
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Typography is an essential part of any graphic design project. Fonts can make a website look better and influence the emotions and moods of its users. It is crucial for a graphic designer to know the difference between a typeface and a font. Many font characteristics contribute to how easy it is for readers to decode text symbols.
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Typography is an essential part of any graphic design project. Fonts can make a website look better and influence the emotions and moods of its users. That's why it's essential to choose the right font for a website to ensure the success of the graphic design.


However, finding the perfect font for a project can be a challenge. It can take a long time to select the correct font. To make the right choice, there are a few things to remember.

What Is a Font?

Typeface and font are two terms that are frequently used to denote the same meaning. In reality, when most people say font, they really refer to a typeface. It is crucial for a graphic designer to know the difference between the two.


A typeface is a particular set of glyphs that share common design features, and it can be described as a family of fonts with the same underlying design.


A familiar example is the Arial typeface, which includes various fonts that differ in size, weight, and other characteristics, but all are based on sans serif Neo-grotesque designs. So, Arial is a typeface, 14-point Arial Black is a font, and 14-point Arial Regular is a different font.

arial fonts


When searching for font combinations for the website, remember that it is common to use fonts that belong to the same family.


Why Are Fonts Important?

Before I indulge in a discussion of various font characteristics that make fonts suitable for different contexts, let’s outline the purposes that all typography designs serve.

Provide readability

Website Readability measures how easily visitors can read and comprehend written material.


There are three types of factors contributing to readability:


  • the reader’s personal attributes (visual impairments and other health factors);
  • what’s in the text (topic’s engagement, proper grammar, syntax complexity);
  • typography (the choice of typeface and its frameworks, i.e., fonts).


Readability is inevitably connected but should not be confused with legibility.


Legibility is a typeface design feature that ensures each character is distinguishable from another. Many font characteristics contribute to how easy it is for readers to decode text symbols and, as a consequence, overall text readability, and we’ll discuss them in more detail later in the article.


Highly decorated versions of typefaces give a lot of personality to a brand, but they sacrifice text readability substantially.


That’s why they’re mostly used for creating large stand-alone formats, such as logos, banners, t-shirt prints, and headers. Remember, typography was created to convey messages, so, in most cases, readability comes before design.


Denote text hierarchies

A typographic hierarchy allows designing hierarchical divisions to lead consumers to certain types of information by using different fonts and creating different text layouts.


The easiest way to use typographic hierarchy is to employ various font sizes for various text parts: the smaller type is often used for body content, while the larger type is used for titles and headers. Other methods to distinguish different information sections include bullet points, white spaces, font colors, etc.


Because there are so many options for creating visually different pieces of data, a typographic hierarchy doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, use it to create original designs that will fit your project best while increasing the website’s readability.


typographic hierarchy (Source: https://uxcel.com/blog/beginners-guide-to-typographic-hierarchy)


One of the designer’s most important duties is to effectively arrange content on a web page so that it is easy to consume. Since a lot of the data that designers deal with are text-based, it is essential to learn how different factors contribute to building a hierarchy.

Improve website navigation

If you’ve already created an effective typographic hierarchy on one page, i.e., set up several hierarchy levels, chosen font type, size, color, etc., to differentiate all types of content, ensure to apply the same method everywhere on the website.


When users come to your platform for the first time, they must figure out where the navigation tools are, how the most important content is denoted, what color the links are, and so on. If you keep these aspects consistent throughout all the pages on the website, you’ll create a better user experience for your readers.

Create a business brand

A font is a crucial element of website branding, greatly impacting how users view your website. Consumer perception of a brand may be positively influenced by its logo’s use of fine typographic components, and product descriptions can be made more engaging by using aesthetically appealing font combinations.

Effective typography keeps readers’ attention without distracting them from the content’s essence. Not only can it make your website more distinctive, but it also causes visitors to begin associating your brand with the typeface used on your site. In this time of users accessing dozens of Internet resources every day, you can’t overstress the value of a strong brand image and the role of fonts in creating it.

Convey moods and emotions

When choosing fonts, it’s important to remember that how characters look can affect the reader’s perception of content. One of the functions of typography is to connect consumers with the text on emotional levels. Just like we capitalize all letters during a chat for denoting a scream, different fonts create mood and emotions.


Each font has its own voice, and while it’s often easy to differentiate which mood a particular font tries to relay (especially when comparing several typefaces), most people can’t explain why they feel different emotions when they see different letter designs.


An oversimplified explanation that doesn’t carry much meaning will tell you that we treat fonts and typefaces much like we treat stereotypes. Hence we perceive certain emotions subconsciously.


That answer is not much of a help to web designers who must be confident when selecting fonts for websites to evoke the intended mood and emotions from the readers.


In the next section, I’ll look at font characteristics and their use to get a better and more practical understanding of which fonts should be used in which conditions.

Main Form Characteristics and How They Are Used

By working with subconsciousness, fonts play an essential role in forming the viewers’ moods and emotions even before they start reading. The number of available fonts is virtually infinite, which makes it easy to create unique designs. However, choosing the appropriate fonts may become complicated, especially if you don’t know where to start.


This section explains which font characteristics make fonts a better fit for one context or another.

Weight

Weight refers to the thickness of typeface strokes in any font. Making letters bolder or thinner is an easy way to create a text hierarchy. Light, regular, and bold font weights are the three main categories, with regular font types being the most popular for reading. The light and bold types convey more emotions, such as delicacy and fragility on one end vs. strength and rudeness on the other.


The ultra-thin font styles are popular in the cosmetics and beauty industry because they relay the feeling of care, lightness, and sensitivity. The bold types (especially the so-called Black fonts, which contain even more weight) are not easy to read and are mostly seen in short phrases for advertising, gaming, or show business.

font weight (Source: https://medium.com/@ltm/typography-part-1-3c3c98211b5)

Width

As with weight, width is an easily identifiable characteristic that strongly affects reading speed. Condensed fonts take up less horizontal space than their non-condensed counterparts and appear when there’s a need to fit lots of text in a small area.

Such fonts are often used as one-line headings in narrow newspaper-style columns where you can’t use a regular-width font.

Narrow fonts provide a feeling of tightness and may even make readers feel uncomfortable. They’re not easy to read as the horizontal lines in glyphs are reduced, and it’s hard to differentiate one character from another.


Extended font styles make even short words look lengthy, and readers tend to read them slower. The words become more memorable and attract significant attention. Because such fonts use more horizontal lines, they are perfect for creating logos and phrases for banners that are meant to be read at an angle.

extended font design example (Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Logo_Oreo_alt.svg)

Serifs and slabs

Short lines that cross the ends of the strokes in letters are called serifs, and the fonts that use serifs are serif fonts. No serifs – sans serif.

Serif type was the first typeface created.

A popular theory says that in Roman Empire, the letters were first painted on stones with brushes, then workers chiseled the stone following brush marks that flared at the beginning and end of each line, forming serifs.


Even small serifs increase the contrast between letters making fonts more legible. That’s why serif fonts are popular in large scientific and literary works, especially for printed texts, where the sharpness of ink can degrade over time.


Being around for so long, serif fonts are a versatile and safe option providing much personality and character. They give a sense of timelessness and tradition to many big-name brands in their logos and are particularly popular in journalism, law, jewelry, fashion, and cinema.

serif, sans serif, and slab serif fonts (Source: https://atelierlks.com/how-to-choose-the-perfect-font-for-your-brand/)


Compared to Serif fonts, sans serifs provide a modern look and are favored by minimalist designs. They’re frequently employed by technology, gaming, and automobile businesses.


Serifs become slabs when they are straight, rectangular, and have the same thickness as the character’s main strokes. Slab serif fonts appear sturdy and reliable and look natural on manufactory floors, power tools shops, steakhouses, and other “manly” industries.

Italic and oblique fonts

Italic and oblique are two related but separate terms describing angled fonts.


The type designers create italic font types to resemble handwritten calligraphy; historically, their purpose is highlighting text. Because of a slant, such fonts have fewer vertical lines and more elegant curves, providing an elegant and pleasant tone. Italic or handwritten fonts transmit personal feelings and appear in greetings and invitation letters.


Oblique font types (sometimes called false italic) appear by slanting upright letters of an existing typeface. Most modern typefaces include oblique fonts alongside other face types. They highlight parts of the text and sometimes add a feeling of speed to it. Designers report that oblique sans serifs don’t stand out in the text as much as oblique serifs.

regular italic oblique fonts


Contrast

Font contrast is a difference in width between thin and thick strokes of a character. Fonts with medium and low contrasts are preferable for lengthy reading and don’t necessarily evoke any mood or emotions.


Monoweight fonts (with uniform strokes) have good readability qualities. They have less connection with handwriting with uneven strokes, adding a feeling of modernism and industrialism to texts.


Extra contrast fonts inherit characteristics of Classicism fonts. The difference between thin and thick strokes creates the feeling of dramatism and allows the creation of elegant headers while sacrificing some readability.

X-height

The x-height, or body size, is the height of lowercase letters compared to uppercase letters. Fonts with small body sizes (where the height of lowercase letters is more than twice smaller than uppercase) provide a big contrast between letters of one font, making it easy for the eyes to jump to the start of each sentence. Such fonts demand more space between the lines of text. As they seem more expressive, they are perfect for reading poems and musical compositions.


On the contrary, fonts with large x-heights make uniform texts, providing a sense of stability. They also allow the fitting of more lines of text in a given space.

x-height in typography (Source: https://medium.com/8px-magazine/practical-guide-to-font-pairing-da58b9bcd42b)

Corners

Intersections of straight lines in letters form corners with sharp edges. Rounding these edges makes a huge difference to the perception of a font forming associations with smooth and pleasant-to-feel surfaces. Rounded forms are also more widespread in nature, so it seems normal that fonts with rounded corners are popular in the food and baby products industries.

font with rounded corners (Source: https://www.dunkin.co.uk/)

On the other hand, sharp edges may express tension and even discomfort. Fonts with exaggerated sharpness are popular for making all kinds of logos, and they’re the number one choice for metal bands.

sharp-edged font for metalheads

Tips for Choosing the Right Font for Your Design

Picking fonts for your website may be complicated for untrained designers. Now that you have familiarized yourself with major font elements, you can better analyze fonts and select the ones that will work for you. Here are a few extra tips for your consideration:


  • Think about personality. Do you want your site to appear serious, playful, hi-tech, or elegant? Define which font attributes reflect your site’s traits and start gathering appropriate typefaces.
  • Don’t skip on any of the font’s main functions. For example, don’t use decorative typefaces that are hard to read for large chunks of text, and avoid neutral designs that convey no charisma. Also, unusual fonts may distract the readers, so choosing fonts is always a matter of balance.
  • Keep the number of fonts at a minimum. Using more than three fonts on one website makes it look unstructured and hard to focus on.
  • Don’t use similar fonts on one project. By using different fonts, you’ll be able to create visual diversity and a more interesting design.
  • Choose an extended typeface family. When you find a font that you like, check out other fonts in the family. See how characters look in different sizes, weights, and other fonts.

Choosing fonts and creating graphic designs can be difficult and time-consuming. But I hope this article helped you to dive into the basics of picking the right font. 😉