January 10, 2014

The importance of typography in your mobile app

Written By Martin Sandhu

Mobile apps present a number of problems when it come to text, small screens, the ability to tap certain words or buttons and how the type contributes and compliments the rest of the app user interface. Yet, in most cases typography tends to be an afterthought in mobile app design.

How would you feel if you received a business email in comic sans font, or with text that was size 24? It simply doesn’t give the professional impression you’d expect, it’s probably acceptable, if not a little annoying, coming from a friend, but the impression the friend intends to make is very different.

In the same way, the typographical elements you choose for your blog will have an impact on the users perception, both of the app itself and your brand. With trust being a very current issue with apps, creating the right impression is essential.



The main influencer of typography in your app will be its function; what does/will it actually do? A game for example will probably have limited text and what text it does have doesn’t need to be too authoritative, so it can reflect the brand and design of the game, be it fun, quizzical or strategic.

If your app is to contain a lot of text, typography will certainly be key, right down to seemingly small things like line spacing. Keeping text simple and considering screen size is essential in order for users to have an easy and enjoyable reading experience.

Headlines, titles, buttons and other large text can be a little more creative, picking up fonts and styles from logos for example. Whatever you decide it must work both on its own and alongside the rest of the text – there are various resources online identifying ‘font families’.


Dynamic text

A new function introduced with iOS7 was Dynamic Text, which gives users the ability to set the size of text across the whole of their phone; this has an obvious impact on mobile apps. The biggest challenge is that some fonts simply don’t look great at all sizes, this means you’ll need to test your text at the different sizes to make sure the effect your typography is aiming to make isn’t lost.

App typography definitely shouldn’t be an afterthought; it’s an important element of an apps design and requires careful thought and planning as well as close collaboration between the designer and developer.