The Power of Fonts in Web Design


There is a wide array of innovative tools available to the web designer. From design hardware to software applications, one thing remains indispensable: fonts. Contrary to popular belief, the way in which the message is presented matters just as much as the message itself. For any web design to work, the designer must pick just the right font. A typographical aesthetic needs to be set to complement the rest of the design elements. It may seem simple enough, but designers spend hours trying to get the font just right.

Fonts have the power to draw a viewer in and tie the entire web design together. Your website must be as straightforward as it is aesthetically pleasing, and the fonts a designer picks can achieve both. Fonts can be an extension of a brand or an individual. According to Webinsation, typography and font faces impact several aspects in web design such as readability, mood, and user experience, among others.

These may not be evident to non-designers, but here are reasons why fonts are a web designer’s best friend:

1. Fonts Establish Message Hierarchy

Because a website is composed of several pages, a designer needs to develop a system of presenting information. This can be done using font colour and font size. Both can be used to emphasize and set apart certain portions of your content.

When reading a web article, you’ll notice that the titles stand out from the text. It may have a bigger font size and a different colour. The bigger the font, the more it will catch a reader’s eye. The same applies when you use a different colour for the title than the rest of the text. This communicates the message that the portion with the bigger font and different colour is important. As viewers browse your website, they will be able to identify the most important to least important information using the font size and colours alone.

2. Fonts Emphasize Message Type

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The same principle applies to the type of information presented across web pages. Market8 identifies three types of web content: main, secondary, and navigation. These types of content serve a variety of purposes and may appear simultaneously.

The main content is what the specific webpage is about. For example, an About page’s main content is the information presented about the company and its affiliations. In the same way, a Contact Us page’s main content may contain an address, phone information, and other relevant contact details. The secondary content is what you find presented in the side columns of web pages. This can include related content, tags, outbound links, and the like. Navigation content refers to what users click to go about your website. With these types of content, a user must be able to identify which is which.

Using different fonts for each type of content makes your website easier to understand. This way, confusion can be avoided and users will be able to immediately differentiate the types of content without headings or labels. This is especially true for websites that contain a large number of web pages.

3. Fonts Set Consistency

As users navigate a website, they will be able to associate the information presented to them based on the typographical system established by the designer. Most users can tell the difference but won’t be able to identify why. This ties together the entire website and is the ultimate marker of good design.

4. Fonts Lend Character

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The type of font a designer uses conveys the character of the webpage. In a similar manner, it portrays the purpose of the company, product, or individual. This is where fonts that match the adjectives used in the content applies. A tech company probably won’t use cursive font faces in their logo. Nor would a classic French restaurant use funky fonts on their website. Certain fonts are appropriate depending on the industry, purpose, or the context.

The power of fonts is that it speaks visually. You won’t need to spell out everything. Certain fonts communicate a sleek and classy aura. Other fonts exude vibrancy and fun. Still other fonts give off a relaxed vibe perfect for your Sunday afternoon viewing pleasure. All these messages are at the disposal of the designer.

Typography accounts for 90% of any design piece, both print and digital. This means that when you get your fonts right, your design is already 90% aesthetically successful. It may take time and extra effort, but it’s worth it. Dmity Kirsanov says, “No other design discipline requires so much learning and training as fontography, and by no other aspect can amateurs be so easily distinguished from professionals. To be font literate, a designer has to study the history and principles of font design.” Being able to master the art of typography gives the designer the power to compel and speak to the audience without using words.