Proper and beautiful typography is important for every aspect of a website—it sets the tone, highlights the theme, and conveys the main message.
Typography is both science and art—designers use it to arrange text in a thoughtful manner, so every feature (size, length, shape, tracking, color, kerning, etc.) will serve a deliberately provoked purpose.
But how do we know we have the right typography?
(Hint: it’s readable!) If users understand the type and feel it’s consistent with the design as a whole, you’re on the right track.
Let’s Define It
Typography is the art of written words for every design aspect.
That’s what makes it extremely important for web design—with just a small effort, we could reward users with beautiful web typography, which is visually appealing and functional.
Believe it or not, many designers still overlook the importance of the typography principle.
It’s not unusual for the entire success of a website to depend on type. Designers need to be careful and to balance their approach, since typography layers are still limited and based on replacement.
Still, you can always skip the “originality” part, and stick to commonly accepted solutions available on the net.
What you needn’t forget is the importance of first impressions, as they can last forever. Typography is, therefore, so powerful that it can affect your users’ experience right away.
Furthermore, it is typography that provides essential information about your brand and your expertise, so make sure you “grab” users from the very first moment.
Great typography is also essential for decoration—it should look nice as well as distinguish items in various tiers of importance. Even the smartest choice of size, shape, and color could be in vain, had you failed to guide users with some obvious hierarchy.
To begin, what is the message you’re trying to send? What should your user see on your website? How is he/she supposed to feel as the pages load?
Once you answer the questions above, you can begin to formulate your message. You’ll discover you have no more valuable tools for communication than type, and that will certainly affect your choice.
Typography As An Art
If you’re not the most creative person ever, don’t worry! You can always look at outstanding examples for inspiration, using the same color schemes or type sizes to improve your own designs.
As a beginner, you should stick to the basics and try to master the initial steps of visual design. Once you’ve understood what typography is all about, you can switch to the next level, then analyze the connection between various design elements.
At that point, you’ll be able to make a final choice, combining colors, sizes, and shapes in an efficient manner.
Let’s check the following core rules for good web typography design. Respecting these rules will certainly lead you to the creation of great headlines or large typography components:
Hierarchy Can Guide Your Users
A well-executed hierarchy is essential for every website, because it helps users move intuitively throughout. Additionally, the type hierarchy is a visual indicator for your users, telling them what to search, what to avoid, and how to proceed.
However, in order to make your hierarchy clear and logical, you need to plan it in advance, outlining titles and headlines first.
While we can’t guarantee users will rely on the hierarchical order provided in your text, it will very likely guide them. (The “hierarchy” should be applied on other elements of design, too.)
Where would alignment matter most?
Typography “breathes,” thanks to proper alignment, because such can guide the human eye toward specific information.
Generally, people opt for centered items and they read them first. However, designers can also do a bit of “side magic,” choosing unusual locations for text and images.
Utilizing Micro And Macro Typography
Macro typography refers to the general structure of the types you’re using, and how they fit within the rest of your design. Therefore, it focuses most on aesthetic, both for the entire website and the single text block.
Micro typography, on the other hand, deals with the spacing details; it enables readability. You have to consider micro typography when connecting different text blocks and converting them into a readable unit.
We advise you to consider both, as ignoring each could have detrimental effects on your final product.
Size Is Crucial
We all want our content to be both attractive and catching, immediately pulling in our audience.The best method to achieve this is size adjustment, especially in terms of titles and promotional messages.
Remember: every sentence which is overlooked by a visitor is a missed opportunity.
Colors Make A Difference
While colors are known to be emotional stimuli, you can never predict a color’s exact effect. There is no guarantee a bold red button will attract attention, or that a green headline will invoke a positive reaction.
In the same way, there is no guarantee visitors will pay attention to your text. However, you should still follow good practices in your designs to make them more readable.
For instance, black and white is a classic combination, because it unites two completely different tones. The same principle, with a slightly modified palette (dark blue and baby pink, for instance), will produce a similar, but slightly less powerful effect.
Take It Personally
Enjoy what you’re doing. There is nothing more pleasant than a positive outcome, especially if you worked really hard to achieve it. Look for solutions, and analyze websites with good typography.
Test your ideas, and compare your work with successful and unsuccessful ideas. Walk a bit in your reader’s shoes, and think about the way in which they’ll perceive the content. Don’t underestimate advice and information, and never stop improving your work.
Usability Comes First
Once again, you can have the most original, creative, or eye-striking design.
However, it will still not be enough if visitors cannot read it. In typography terms, readability stands for usability; and it controls the biggest portion of your website’s efficiency.
Now, that you are aware of the importance of typography, forget about those few minutes you usually spend choosing a font, and start a serious hunt for typefaces that support your style and your brand.
Remember, it’s not a bad idea to learn from graphic designers, either, especially since they understand typography is the bridge that connects aesthetic with function. Understanding this balance is the most reliable key to a design’s success.
So, if you’re looking to perfect your typography in favor of bettering your website, design, whatever—keep its functionality and look in mind. Does it follow a hierarchy? Do you use color? Most importantly, will your reader see and read your type? If you’re answering yes to these questions, we believe you will find success in your typography.
If you’re interested in reading more about web typography, check out Matt Cronin’s article on Smashing Magazine.