Font Matters An Introduction to Business Website Typography


Typography may seem tiny, but it’s more important than you think.

Written words are everywhere, from the menu you read this morning at your favorite cafe to this article. Even if you are not a skilled font designer, you may still notice that the scripts you see in all these documents are different. These different scripts are called typefaces, a set of distinct design characteristics for glyphs, such as alphabets and characters. For example, Times New Roman is a typeface. What we usually call “font” actually refers to the variations (eg weight, size) within a typeface. For example, Times New Roman 10 point and Times New Roman 14 point are two different fonts. The study of typeface style and how fonts convey messages in different contexts is known as typography.

Wherever written words go, there is typography, and business websites are no exception. If you find that your company’s website looks weird but you can’t quite put your finger on it, there may be a problem with the typography. Read on to find out more.

Introducing Font Psychology

A handwriting font created by Kimberly Geswein
Image courtesy of Google Fonts

Essentially, font psychology studies how typography influences our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In other words, fonts can trigger our emotions and we tend to evaluate them based on our cognition, that is, how our existing knowledge influences perception and judgment. For example, since casual scripts are often used in documents that require an informal look, when we see a casual handwritten font, like “Dawning of a New Day” (created by Kimberly Geswein on Google Fonts), we instinctively call informal.

In short, you need to “manipulate” font psychology if you want visitors to view your business positively when they visit your website. Follow the guide below to optimize your business website typography step by step:

Why typography matters to your business

Before diving into font selection, you must first understand how typography affects your business. Since 90% of web design is characterized by fonts, it’s no surprise that you need to spend time studying them to improve your website. There is no “golden rule” for font selection, although some scripts are suggested based on font psychology factors, such as professionalism and visitor emotions.

Professionalism

No matter what category your business falls into, creating a professional corporate image is always essential. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but you can start with typography for your business website. If you want to present your business as established, stable, and professional, choose fonts from the Serif family (see “Know Your Font Families” section), such as Georgia, Baskerville, and Garamond, as they are associated with tradition. and stability.

The emotions of visitors

If you still remember the definition of font psychology, typefaces can convey feelings. Simply put, when we see traditional Serif prints, such as Times New Roman and Georgia, we tend to perceive the content we read as formal and professional. In contrast, a website made up of casual typefaces, like handwriting scripts, will make us feel relaxed.

As mentioned above, it’s always important to maintain a company’s professional image. Therefore, you should choose typefaces that present your business as well-developed and, above all, reliable.

Know your font families

The typefaces you see on websites mainly fall into four families: Serif, Sans-serif, script, and decorative. Let’s examine them one by one:

Serif

Serif
serif font
Image courtesy of Pratique Ecommerce

Serif typeface refers to scripts with small short lines extending from the edges (called serif; parts highlighted in red). Since the fonts in this family were designed to make text easier to read, they can fit most business website styles. Due to their classic nature, serif fonts also convey a sense of confidence in addition to respectability, making them an ideal option for business websites. Some popular fonts in this family include Playfair Display, Garamond, Baskerville, Georgia, and Courier New.

Playfair display
Playfair display
Image courtesy of Google Fonts
garamond
garamond
Image courtesy of Google Fonts

sans serif

As the name suggests, sans serif fonts are devoid of decorative lines. Without the serif, the script appears to be simple and minimalistic. Go for Arial, Helvetica, Proxima Nova, Futura, and Calibri if you intend to keep your website modern and clean and give visitors more space to digest content.

Manuscript

Handwritten or handwritten fonts are typefaces that resemble our natural handwriting. Since our writing styles vary depending on our personality, handwritten fonts also come in a wide range of styles. While handwritten scripts might look fun, it’s not so smart to incorporate them into your business website because the flourishes and loops (called swashes) that come with them can affect readability. Perhaps that’s why international brands like Coca-Cola, Cadbury, and Disney are only adopting handwriting scripts for their logos, not their websites.

Manuscript
Image courtesy of Seeklogo
Image courtesy of Seeklogo
Image courtesy of Seeklogo
Seek logo
Image courtesy of Seeklogo

Decorative

Like handwritten fonts, decorative fonts are also known for their extreme characteristics, such as swashes or exaggerated serifs. While decorative fonts allow designers to unleash their creativity, heavily decorated fonts are difficult to read. Therefore, they are mostly only used in titles of a few words. If you want to draw your visitor’s attention to a slogan on your website, an eye-catching decorative font can be the best solution.

Mix and match fonts

Using only one distinct typeface can make your website look dull. In fact, mixing and matching two scripts can bring variety to the website and make the final design more balanced. Renowned typographer Jessica Hische suggests that we should identify the dominant typeface (known as the anchor type) in the design before selecting the second.

Mixing and matching prints is a great way to add some cheer to your business website. However, you should never use more than four fonts throughout the design because if there are too many fonts on a website, it will become visually chaotic and distracting.

Take font size seriously

If you’ve found a typeface that suits your business style, congratulations. However, at the same time, remember to pay attention to the font size as it affects readability. Words that are too small (where you have to squint) or too big (where you have to scroll multiple times to finish reading a full sentence) will affect the browsing experience for customers, especially if your website is designed for browsing. mobile.

Technically speaking, any text input on the website should be at least 16px (short for pixels) because people can read texts of this size comfortably without straining their eyes. This typography rule also applies to body text (about 16px). On the other hand, captions should be a few pixels smaller in size so that readers can distinguish between the two (body text and captions).

Conclusion: check your typography in different browsers

Fonts can sometimes be tricky as they can display differently across browsers. Even if you’ve finalized the design and tested it a million times on your desktop, it’s still best to double or even triple check if the fonts look good on all devices. Don’t forget to also check if the content displayed in the chosen scripts is properly scaled and readable (not too small or oversized). Google Resizer is useful whenever you need to test your website.

There’s still a lot to cover on typography, but given space constraints, here are the most useful tips you need to create or manage your business websites. If your budget allows, hire professionals for better results, and this investment can grow your business.

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Header image courtesy of the author

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