There are a lot of things to consider when designing and creating your own website. From page layouts and colours, to design elements and pictures; the list is undoubtedly a long one, yet there’s one element which is incredibly impactful yet often neglected: font styling.
Choosing a font style for your website needs to go further then simply being readable. The right font can help tie your entire design together and can be used to draw attention to and highlight valuable pieces of content.
There’s no right or wrong font style for your website. Of course, some will match your design elements better than others, but still you’ll have a great many to make your choice from.
So how do you choose?
Well, trial and error is a useful tool, so too is looking at websites which use similar design elements to your own see what types of fonts they use. At worst, this is a useful starting point.
Next, its important to remember that different font styles can impact the overall tone and feel of your page. For example, serif fonts, those with the additional finishing strokes, exude a formal or academic feel. Sans serif fonts, by contrast, feel more light hearted and less formal.
Sharp lines and excessively narrow/wide fonts can prove difficult to read, and can look untidy and out of place on business websites. Such fonts are usually used to create a non-conformist feel, perhaps by a night club targeted at students, for example.
For business websites a simple ‘sans-serif’ font is a great starting point, unlikely to cause design conflicts whilst making your content appear inviting and easy to read.
There definitely appears to be something of a sweet spot when it comes to font sizes, too small, and text becomes difficult to read and uninviting. Too large, and it feels as though the content is being forced at you, almost compelling visitors to ignore it out of sheer defiance.
Arguably, the ideal font configuration for basic content is somewhere around 16px with 1.25 to 1.5 line spacing. This should make your content easy to read without producing a ‘wall of text’ which hampers the overall design effect of your website.
Of course, you can and should utilise large font sizes for headings and sub headings and to place an emphasis on particularly important content.
Font weighting, or thickness, in other words, is another area of possible customisation. High font weights are typically used to place emphasis on key areas, however you may choose to utilise a higher or lower font weight across the board depending on the overall look you want to achieve for your website.
I will add that higher(er) font weights, specifically when used for basic content rather than headings and sub headings, are more difficult to incorporate into a design in a visually appealing way.
Font styles, sizes and weighting all play an important part in the overall appearance of your website. Not only that, when used in the right combination it can help increase viewer engagement and draw attention to important information including calls to action.
They can also be a potential misstep too. Poor font choice, including the above mentioned styling elements, can greatly hamper the overall aesthetics of your web page and cause poor viewer interactions.
With no hard and fast rules governing font usage its best to adopt a trial and error mentality, probably starting with a safer option and trying riskier, at least stylewise, alterations very gradually, taking care to maintain the correct feel of the website.