Website Typography Guide

Website Typography Guide
Article by Maria MartinMaria Martin
Last Updated: May 09, 2023

In the world of design, the smallest details can make a big difference.

50% of users consider your website design a crucial factor in their opinion of your company and whether they stick around to browse your site. Craft your brand well to keep visitors interested in exploring your online platform.

Website typography plays a considerable part in the user-friendliness of your site, and if users enjoy its design, they will undoubtedly continue browsing your content. If you’ve been managing your website content efficiently with SEO, making sure the type you’ve selected for your site can guarantee that it is optimized for your readers’ benefit.

So, how can typography boost your web design and strengthen your online platform?

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What Is Website Typography?

First things first, what exactly is website typography? It refers to how text appears on your site, comprising the typeface, font style, line and letter spacing, hierarchy and alignment, among others. This defines the user’s experience in reading content on your site.

For the untrained eye, it can be a lot to take in. This is when a web designer’s expertise comes into play and why working with one is a vital step to creating your online space. There are website design templates available for beginners to try out. More established website design companies may prefer to work with web professionals to make sure it’s an efficient process.

5 Key Elements of Website Typography

Whether you decide to work on your website or partner with design specialists who can build it for you, having beginner knowledge of the basics can help you as you progress with the project. What is the must-know terms for web typography?

  1. Typefaces
  2. Fonts
  3. Appropriate Spacing
  4. Hierarchy and Alignment
  5. Contrast

1. Typefaces

What you would typically call a font is technically called a typeface. A typeface is a design applied to a set of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. It refers to how alphanumeric characters appear on a page, both on printed and digital platforms. It isn’t often the most outstanding feature of your website, but it’s a significant part that visitors will notice.

The most familiar typefaces you’ll have encountered include some of the following: Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, and even Comic Sans. Today’s web design trends feature stunning typography-centric designs, with the text playing the central role in capturing the users’ attention and inciting their curiosity to see more of what the website offers.

You can also refer to a typeface as a font family, which may be where the confusion lies and why many simply call typefaces fonts.

2. Fonts

Font refers to the treatment applied to a typeface. Its variations comprise the following, among others:

  • Weight – whether it’s bold or light
  • Style – if it’s a serif, a sans-serif, or a script. They can also be italicized, underlined, or struck-through.
  • Size – with the body of text at least 16px to ensure legibility

These variations make your text easy to view and comprehend as your site visitors browse your content. They make reading your pages and articles easy, serving hierarchy, alignment, and contrast.

3. Appropriate Spacing

Making sure your text has space to breathe is essential. When used correctly, it can help your content be easier to absorb for the audience. A paragraph that is written too densely into itself can be overwhelming and discouraging for the reader. Below are some elements you can adjust to make your content easier to digest:

Kerning refers to the horizontal space between two specific characters. Designers can customize kerning when certain typefaces are too close together and fix what would have been poor or awkward spacing.

Tracking is similar to kerning but applies to a line of text instead of just between two characters.

Leading affects the vertical line spacing, which significantly helps make your content easier to scan and read. If you’ve ever had to write a paper, and the instructed formatting was to use single- or double-spaced, that refers to leading.

4. Hierarchy and Alignment

To aid the flow of the content, you can outline and divide an article into different sections accordingly. Hierarchy is an easy way to guide these sections using headings, subheadings, and subtitles. This is notably helpful for readers who look for particular information in your article and can quickly find it when they arrive at your page.

Alignment refers to where the text on a page is anchored. It’s typically aligned to the left for blog posts, the recommended direction for most online platforms. That said, there is room to experiment with the different pages of your site, especially if you decide to create a typography-centric platform. Similar to when choosing your typefaces for the website, keep your text alignment limited: Avoid switching from left to right to center, all within 500 words. Like in many things, simplicity is key.

5. Contrast

While this is a term mostly applied to colors in both web design and the user’s hardware, contrast in typography refers to making these aforementioned elements work well together to make content easy to browse.

Beyond making sure you select a font color that doesn’t make your text blend into the background, you can use contrast in type to guide the readers’ line of sight to the information they want most. This is apparent when using hyperlinks in your articles, whether to refer to another article on your site or to link to a source of information.

Essential Website Typography Tips

Some things to keep in mind when working on the typography for your website:

  1. Consider your company branding in your website design
  2. Know the value of web typography
  3. Understand how typefaces, font and formatting work together

Tip 1. Consider your company branding in your website design

The recommended first step in crafting any design for your business is to set guidelines to follow with the help of a brand book. Think of this as the manual for how your company is visually represented. The same treatment should be applied to your site, including the typography you apply to it.

Tip 2. Know the value of web typography

Small details have a considerable impact on the impression you make with your potential customers. Staying consistent in your choices to establish your position as a specialist in your industry.

Tip 3. Understand how typefaces, font and formatting work together

With information being as accessible now, it’s easy to find options for web design lessons online. There’s a reason why web design is its practice. Professionals have the expertise to balance the look and feel your site should have along with your branding. Nowadays, you can

How To Choose the Perfect Web Typography

When making any design decisions for your website, we recommend looking to your brand book for guidance. If it’s your first time encountering the term, it’s a branding handbook on presenting your company. It comprises details about your brand story, visuals, and personality.

Typography falls under your brand visuals. The challenge now is deciding how to apply it to your brand and website. Below are some points to consider in choosing the perfect type for your site:

Before anything, make sure the typeface you choose is legible.

You can always start with basic typefaces, but be authentic to your brand’s personality.

Match your selected typeface with the personality you will embody in your web content.

Have a select number of typefaces, with at least two and at most 5 to choose from.

Balance aesthetics with substance and balance excellent quality content with your stunning visuals.

The Challenges of Web Typography

As you populate your website with relevant content, consider how potential visitors will experience your platform. In 2022, there was an average bounce rate – the measurement for how long visitors stays on your website – of 50% for desktop users, 56.8% for mobile users, and 51.6% for tablet users. Every second counts on making your site rank on search engines as welcoming and helpful to users. The following are some points to consider as you prepare to build your site:

Challenge 1. Different devices to consider for typography

When creating your website, make it a mobile-first design. Today, it can be done with any web design template with built-in features to match your desktop site to a handheld counterpart. That said, if you’re commissioning a custom website, work with developers and designers familiar with the right tools to make it available for different devices.

Challenge 2. Integrating fluid formatting for your content

In line with the varying devices to keep in mind, there is also many screens and monitors presently available. While your design may be visually beautiful, integrating the basics in any web design is key to making it adaptable to any screen size, color, and resolution. Experienced professionals can help ensure your site has a responsive web design.

Challenge 3. Selecting the right typefaces for your website

This goes for those who haven’t completed the steps to set up their brand visuals. It’s perfectly understandable, but setting it up as soon as possible will help you in the long run. With the ever-increasing number of available typeface options, it can be a lot to take in. Generally, you can choose whatever type suits your preferences, but there is an art to choosing which one best fits your brand. A quick consult with a web designer can go a long way. Partnering with one to help you can certainly speed up the process.

How To Approach Typography for Your Website

Like with any good field, starting with the basics is the way to go. It can be overwhelming when getting started, but once you get the basics down, typography is a small but significant part of your platform you can play around with and integrate throughout your branding material.

It can start with your site, then eventually branch out to how you treat your text on social media posts and mass advertising material. Become familiar with the terminology and where each element is applied, and then you’ll be ready to start building your website. That, or partner with designers who have the right skill set for the job.

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