It’s important to find the right font for your website – a well-used font can boost first impressions of your site, and can be used to communicate your brand. At the same time, though, the perfect font needs to be compatible with browsers, and unlikely to cause problems for users in terms of loading times. In this context, it’s crucial to think about some of the following approaches for finding the perfect font, which range from keeping things simple to using CSS to optimize your fonts; moreover, you need to choose between serif and sans serif, while looking in the right places for fonts that suit your users.
1 – Keep It Simple
While it may be tempting to use an elaborate font, they can cause problems if a browser cannot read it. For this reason, most sites opt for Arial, Times New Roman, Helvetica, and other familiar fonts, and especially for their body text. The more complex a font, the more likely that it’ll cause problems; however, you can experiment with using more unusual fonts as part of background loading images and navigation banners. The emphasis on body text should be on readability, and having the right size to prevent issues with users having to zoom in on their browsers.
2 – Use CSS to Specify Fonts
One solution to ensuring that different browsers do not fail to pick up on your preferred font is to use CSS to provide a range of font options. CSS can be set up to create a list of alternative fonts if one isn’t recognized – this can be a good idea if you’re using serif and sans serif fonts where one might not always be recognized the first time that a browser loads a page. CSS can also ensure that fonts can be clearly managed in terms of stylistic changes, and via Content Management Systems.
3 – Deciding Between Serif and Sans Serif
Most websites opt for sans serif style fonts – this basically means that the font used doesn’t have curling edges and feet on letters, which is the distinguishing feature of serif fonts. You’re more likely to see serif fonts in print publications, rather than online, as they can be difficult to read on smaller screens and poor resolutions. Always remember that users may be accessing a site using a smaller device or on a old model computer, and that elaborate fonts won’t have the same impact as a high definition screen.
4 – Know Where to Look For Free Fonts
If you’re stuck for ideas about where to get fonts, there are a lot of free and partial subscription resources online for them – some of the best sites currently available include Dafont, Font Squirrel, and Fontstruct. Depending on what you need for your site, these resources can be useful for both downloading fonts compatible with different browsers, and for experimenting with font building tools. Sites like Dafont also provide tutorials and community pages for discussing font design.
5 – Think about Your Users
You should always go back to the question of who makes up your user base, and what your target audience is – for example, if you’re a traditional company, you’re more likely want to avoid overly stylized fonts in favor of something clean and reliable. Think about what fonts work well for offline promotions like flyers and print advertisements, and consider picking both an on page font that’s as close as possible to this; you can also incorporate your brand name or slogan into a background image if it uses a more obscure font.
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Article by Mark Homer
This article was contributed by Mark Homer. If you’re struggling with site design or finding the right font for your project, visit this Cincinnati web design company website for helpful advice.