April 11, 2014

Typography and web design

Written By Martin Sandhu


Remember the early days of computers, writing documents in Word and playing with every possible font? It didn’t really matter which font you chose as long as it was readable to the end user (and it looked super cool of course!), but designing for the web is different. The printed word is a constant, but when reading a document online there are variables which can make the font look very different – screen size, browser, operating system etc.

Until fairly recently typography on the web was limited, only fonts that you could rely on being installed on your end-user’s computer were an option. Given that there were two potential operating systems (Mac and PC) that your visitor was likely to be using and the number of fonts was pretty limited. It was common for web designers to get around this by using images of text, but that of course had its affect on SEO and impacted the overall design.

With the introduction of web fonts and browsers that are able to render text effectively, this has all changed, leading to many typographically designed websites.  Typography is an art in itself and websites led by font are no doubt beautiful, but they’re not always practical for every business; that doesn’t mean you should ignore typography though…

The way you present content on you website has a huge impact on whether visitors read it and effects its credibility. In 2012 The New York Times website found that some types were more believable than others. Phil Renaud, a college student, tracked his grades on 52 essays in three different typefaces and found that assignments in “Georgia” averaged over an entire letter grade higher than assignments in “Trebuchet MS.

Present users with pages of small, ‘normal’ looking text and they’re likely to avoid it at all costs, but by giving them something that looks more appealing and the likelihood of them reading it, taking it on board and perhaps most importantly believing it increases, simple enough really.