How To Choose A Font That Will Improve Your Website

To the untrained eye, any chosen font doesn’t seem to do much to improve the look and feel of your website. Obviously, most people can tell the difference between Times New Roman and Wingdings typefaces, but the subtle nuances of x-heights and ascenders tend to be lost on most website owners.

The font that you choose can really affect the emotions that users feel when scrolling through your website and make or break a conversion.

Cover-all Font

You can compare the readability of some popular fonts on  Neville Medhora’s Kopywriting Kourse. He breaks it down in an easily understandable way and suggests that -spoiler alert- the best basic font is Arial, 12pt, black. This is a quick answer for those who want to keep their content easy to read and don’t really want to take the time to convey their message through their typeface as well as their copy, but I wouldn’t suggest it’s a be all, end all solution. If you have the time, choosing the right font for you is kind of reminiscent of Search Engine Optimisation to me: not every business needs it, but if you want to get the most out of your website then it’s vital for you.

 

What message are you trying to convey?

Typefaces can be used to further the message displayed in your copy. Each letterform can remind us of certain things, or make us feel a certain way. Is the website you’re choosing a font for a high-end hotel? Maybe it’s a tudor museum, or a childminder?

For each of the above examples, you want to convey a different message. This could be elegance, relaxation, education or fun. You could even use font to further showcase a specific time frame (as in the Tudor Museum example) rather than only emotions. The possibilities really are endless, and it’s all about psychology.

 

Serif, Sans Serif and Scripts

If you already clicked on the Kopywriting Kourse linked above, you’ll probably have scrolled down to Neville’s explanation of serif versus sans serif – and it’s pretty simple.

demonstrating thedetail in a serif font

Serif typefaces have ‘serifs’ – essentially little feet on certain letters (like Times New Roman). The first serifs were called Humanist typefaces, and emerged around the same time as the invention of the printing press. They mimic the pen strokes a person would make when writing on paper, like Kennerly. The style of serifs has changed dramatically in the centuries since, going from thick to thin font weight almost erratically. But don’t worry – I won’t go into the history of all serifs…

San Serif, therefore, is pretty easy to understand. It literally means without serif. An example of them is Helvetica. These are a simpler letter form, and are often used today. However, these can go to extremes with the simplicity and actually make your body copy difficult to read – if all of the letters are similar heights, it takes you longer to distinguish between each letter.

Scripts are typefaces based on handwriting, specifically writing masters from the 17th Century. These differ from Humanist Serifs as the whole font mimics a pen stroke, rather than only including small details of handwriting. We can break these down into formal and casual scripts – the former of which is often used to convey elegance or traditionalism, and tends to be used on things like wedding invitations in modern times – such as the Edwardian Script typeface.

 

How Do I Choose?

The great news is that you don’t have to choose just one!

If you feel like the perfect typeface to convey your message is Edwardian Script or Bank Gothic, go for it. However, you’ll probably notice that changing the whole of your body copy to that makes it pretty difficult to read.

In this case, it’s a great idea to look through fonts and choose a body font that follows a similar idea in terms of structure but is easier to read. You can look through this blog post as a resource or you can simply check out the family or super-family that a font belongs to.

 

Choosing an initial font is just going to take time and a lot of deliberation. The inspect element tool could really be your best friend here.

 

Something To Bear In Mind…

 

Your font should never be a focal point. A great font should subconsciously improve your User’s Experience but shouldn’t draw attention away from the actual content of your site. Think of it as the ketchup that heightens the flavour of your burger – you never want to notice the ketchup before the filling.

You can receive more tips on improving your overall web presence and your site by getting in touch with Indiespring.