Why Typography Is Important to Your Website

Marketing one’s content is a key strategy in attracting new clients, retaining customers, as well as generating conversions, whether they’re in the form of likes, subscriptions, leads, or sales.

Content can exist as the message in and of itself, since we all tend to think that the message doesn’t change, no matter what font it’s in, or how it’s packaged.

Or does it?

Let’s think about how the message is crafted. From a linguistic and semantic point of view, the main idea comes to mind, and words are then chosen carefully in order to frame the message. To communicate effectively, you need to know your audience and be able to anticipate how they’ll respond to the words you choose.

These words must be read to be subsequently understood, processed, and digested. But in order to get your audience to read, you must present your message in an appropriate and effective manner.

The presentation is extremely important. Most people would expect a diamond ring to be inside a box from the jeweler, not a crumpled brown paper bag, and no one would bother looking for the latter just to find one. Typography is all about presenting and packaging the content, that is, the message you’re trying to get across to your audience.

What Is Typography?

Typography is simply the manner in which text is arranged on a document, or for the purposes of this article, on a web page. It is often considered an art, especially since typography is closely tied to creativity and innovation. Typography serves many purposes, from underscoring a theme, defining personality, emphasizing ideas, putting emotions on display, generating interest and building an overall design aesthetic. It is the intersection of layout and content and is an integral part of web design for any website.

Elements of Typography Worth Considering

Typography encompasses a number of elements that affect and are affected by web design, including choice of font, color palette, size, the length of lines, layout, and integration with a design. It is important to be familiar with all of these factors to be able to use typography effectively.

  1. Typefaces: are the first things that come to mind when we think about typography. Some even use the terms “font” and “typography” interchangeably, however fonts comprise a mere subset of what makes up typography. Typefaces simply refer to the name of the text style that is being used. Examples include Helvetica, Times, Papyrus and Arial.
  2. Fonts: Most people use “font” and “typeface” interchangeably as well, but if we’re being specific, font refers to a specific style of typeface, indicating the size, height, width, and style. Arial Narrow, size 14, italics is a font. So is Myriad Pro Regular, size 12.
  3. Tracking: This is the space between characters or groups of characters in a block of text. While tracking tends to be relatively standard, it can be adjusted to affect text density.
  4. Kerning: Whereas tracking is a more general term, kerning refers specifically to the distance between individual letters and characters, usually in the horizontal plane.
  5. Line Length: this refers to the length of text running from left to right across the page. This can be altered by adjusting margins, kerning, and font sizes. The longer the line length, the more difficult it becomes to read.
  6. Leading: Leading is the measurement of space between where letters sit in relation to the lines of text immediately above and below.

These elements are important in affecting how a page reads. Most people focus solely on fonts and typefaces alone while ignoring how minor adjustments in tracking, kerning, line length and leading can have dramatic and valuable results.


Typography Underscores The Website’s Visual Personality

Upon first glance, visitors to your website should be able to determine what it is all about. There is plenty of psychology at play here, and a lot of subtexts is developed almost instantaneously.

By taking cues from the colors, layout, and typography, they can sense an overarching tone, mood, message, and theme even without having to study the written content or look at the pictures. Within a few seconds, visitors will decide whether they are members of the target audience or dismiss the website as simply not for them.

Typography helps achieve this goal, as the interplay of individual visual elements works synergistically with each other to elicit the desired emotional response.

Typography Helps To Define Your Brand

Your brand is more than just a logo. Just like Nike’s trademark Swoosh, or Starbucks’ Siren, the typography for those actual brand names are just as recognizable and contribute to brand perception.

Take any well-known brand and simply change their font to something else. Even if the brand uses a font that is used in a lot of other contexts, the combination of typography and logo contribute to how people identify and perceive the brand such that the two cannot be divorced.

It goes without saying that if you have an iconic logo and it’s complemented with typography that’s just right, the combination stands out in the minds of your customers, carrying your brand forward.

Typography Focuses Your Readers’ Attention

As we alluded to earlier, the content on your website may be of the highest caliber, but if it’s not presented effectively, your efforts will have been wasted. One of the ways to get your readers to dive right in is to use typography to your advantage. All of the elements mentioned above contribute to how your content is not just perceived but experienced.

Ask anyone whether they’ve read anything published in Comic Sans and taken it seriously. Chances are, they probably dismissed the message as being trite or trivial. Better yet, present them with the dreaded “wall of text,” where every word is in the same font and every line is justified. They probably had a difficult time getting through the first paragraph, even if the topic is something they’re genuinely interested in.

Small tweaks in typeface and size, layout and color can make a huge difference in an article’s readability, helping to emphasize the key points of your message, and your readers will appreciate your effort.

Typography Keeps The Consistency of Your Website Intact

Typography is the glue that binds the different elements of your website together.

Visitors to your website look for consistency; and that doesn’t necessarily mean a generic, cookie-cutter appearance to your website that makes it look like everyone else’s. The elements must work well internally with each other, from the top of the page down to the Call-To-Action buttons. Search engines tend to favor well-presented content, and your website’s performance on Analytics will reflect consistency. Furthermore, your users should be able to find what they’re looking for and not have to spend several minutes wandering about your website, getting frustrated every step of the way.

Typography can either reinforce the uniformity of your site, or expose its lack of it, and your conversion rates will be indicative of the user experience your readers have when they visit.

How To Make Typography Work For You

Fonts, Typefaces and Their Variations

It’s important to know the kinds of typefaces you have at your disposal, or at least be familiar with the ones you want to work with. Fonts come in a wide variety of variations, and some of the differences are subtle. But these nuances can have an impact on presentation, so get to know your options as you develop the personality and presence of your website.

Thousands of Fonts in a Handful of Categories

You can spend hours, days, or even weeks looking for fonts to use, and still not be sure that you’ve found what you’re looking for. Thankfully, fonts are easily classified into neat categories with little overlap.

  1. Serif: A serif is a slight projection at the end of a stroke, usually seen at the bottoms, but also at the tops or far right or left edges of letters. As an example, the lower case letters “m” or “n” of these fonts appear to have “feet” on them. Examples of serif fonts include Times, Baskerville, and Cambria.
  2. Sans Serif: These fonts have no terminal strokes, or “feet” on them. They have a clean, streamlined or minimalist look, but sometimes are harder to read at smaller sizes. Examples of these fonts include Arial, Helvetica, and Calibri.
  3. Script: these decorative fonts are popular for their elegant appearance, and are often found on wedding invitations, certificates, and similar documents. To use them effectively, use them sparingly, with plenty of space, and at sizes large enough to appreciate their artistry.
  4. Display: This kind of font is often seen on movie posters, signage, and newspaper headlines. Similar to script fonts, use these only for emphasis, as too much can be overwhelming.
  5. Hand Lettering: As the name implies, these fonts have a hand-rendered appearance, simulating the handwriting of a child; or the informal, hasty scrawl on a chalkboard. The advantage of these fonts is that they carry a human element that is otherwise lacking in the other categories.
Readable Content Gets Read

Readability has a number of factors. Aside from the content itself, consider all of the elements of typography, especially the use of space. Kerning and tracking can make a huge difference in one’s ability to scan body text.

Give your written content plenty of breathing room, adding enough distance between individual letters, words, lines and sections to be able to process the units in a meaningful way.

Keep line length somewhere between 50 and 75 characters per line. This means using about 10 to 15 words, whether the lines are justified or not.

Font Selection

The fonts you choose for your project, whether it is the branding of a website, an individual product, product line, or a whole company, can influence and direct the behaviors of your audience to support or dismiss the project altogether. Be sure to consider the impact of your choices on how they call your audience to action.

This becomes increasingly important if your brand has an established identity, and your audience can recognize your brand simply by the fonts used in your branding. Changing things up can have a negative impact on your audience, from a loss of confidence in your brand, or suspicion that the quality of your product has changed for the worse.

Mastering the Subtleties

Typography brings character and meaning simply by adding variability in appearance. Finding typefaces with the right balance of personality can be very difficult. The visual cues and characteristics of the font add elements of emotion, tone, and appeal that can overshadow the actual words.

When working with a graphic designer to develop your website or your brand, be sure to ask them why they chose certain fonts for your project. Good designers would be very accommodating in explaining their choices, and you can gain some insight to their trains of thought as well.

Conclusion: Find What Works (And Stick To It)

It can take a lot of time and effort to establish typography that works for your website, and you might make some mistakes along the way. New fonts and typefaces are being created and released every day, and the layouts and themes that are currently effective will eventually become stale and outdated. But once you’ve found what works for you, stick with it, and watch the conversions go up.

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One Comment

  1. thanks for sharing this info…….

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