How to create and use good typography for your website designs
Whether it is on our phones, websites, or books, we consume written words daily. From usage instruction manuals to shop fronts, typed content is all around us. More often than not, we reflect on the power of the written word. On the contrary, we seldom reflect on the designer’s role in matching the type with the tone of the word or sentence being expressed.
What goes on that you often wouldn’t notice is that designers take their time crafting the typography to ensure a relationship between the text and its looks. Different moods and atmospheres can be created and expressed through the choice of typography. But what is typography, and why is it important?
Typography refers to the art or technique of designing and arranging text and letters on a page in order to make the copy clear, legible, and visually appealing to the reader. It focuses on the appearance, font style, and structure of the text to elicit certain emotions as well as convey specific messages. Besides, it narrows down to the size and type of typefaces that range from symbols, punctuation marks, letters, and numbers. When typography is done correctly, it will express the reader with the right emotions that match the brand or content for which it is meant to represent.
In this article, we shall explore everything you need to know about typography, including why it so vital, how you can use it in web design, and the different elements to consider when creating and using good typography.
Why is good typography necessary for web design?
Web design requires a catalogue of skills in the development and maintenance of websites. The skillset should be adequate to cover webpage layout, web graphics, interface design, and content authoring. In web design, typography has a significant influence on user experience and the perception of your website.
Whereas typography is essential, it is often overlooked by website designers, especially when structuring essential elements such as fonts, texts, and headlines on the website. As stated earlier, typography isn’t only about choosing the right fonts: it is a key component of user interface design. That is so because it puts everything in order and makes your website design legible and impressive.
Perfect typography will give a balanced graphic design, set the tone of the product, and establish a strong visual hierarchy. That said, the fair use of typography will inform your users, guarantee user experience, and optimize accessibility as well as readability. The key reasons why you should create and use good typography in your website design include, but not limited to:
Retaining the attention of your readers
When done rightly, typography could be the difference between a user staying on your website for 30 seconds or 30 minutes. The use of visually appealing and memorable typography is important in holding the attention of your site visitors.
Influencing your users’ decision-making
Typography plays an important role in the way users perceive and digest the information as expressed by the text on your website. The choice of text should be eye-catching to persuade users. The use of weak fonts wouldn’t be enough to reinforce the message expressed through the text.
Building the recognition of your brand
The use of good typography will reinforce your website’s legibility, personality, and your users will start associating your brand with the typeface featured on your website. Users prefer a consistent use of unique typography. Do so, and you will have a strong following. Furthermore, you can build trust and create subliminal relationships with your users.
How to create good typography
Elements of Good typography
Before getting started on how to create and use good typography, it is important that you get to grips with the essential elements of typography.
Text (Fonts and Typefaces)
First and foremost, a typeface refers to a design style that involves a myriad of characters that vary in size and weight. Fonts, on the other hand, refers to the graphical representation of text characters. The basic types of typefaces include serif, decorative, and sans-serif. In web design, designers usually use at most three fonts to keep the interface streamlined and uncluttered. Also, the decorative font should be used at a minimum.
- Typography in web design requires that the text be legible, condensed, and bold so that you powerfully express your brand message and in a clear manner.
- The use of bold text is vital because by doing so, you show your users a strong image of your brand.
- Avoid the use of complex and fancy texts for the information you deem formal.
- Be careful to select the fonts that match your brand and website.
- Users are more likely to be attracted to websites designed with simpler and clearer fonts than complex and sophisticated ones.
- For readability, informative websites should be designed with carefully selected fonts modified for laptops, smartphones, and tablet use.
- Colour contrast
Similar to the font’s hierarchy, colour contrast helps you highlight the specific ideas or messages you would like to emphasize to your site visitors. Taking your time to work on your website’s colour contrast can make your content exciting and attention-holding. As a web designer, you can use styles, colours, typefaces and sizes to highlight information and break up your pages.
- Be careful to select and use colour contrast that suits your website’s background and the text without blurring the current look.
- Remember that typography is supposed to emphasize particular content to your readers. That said, you should be careful about what content you choose to express with emphasis.
- White space (Negative space)
This is the space on your web pages that surrounds your text and graphics. It is often overlooked, and users don’t realize its purpose, but proper use and distribution of the white space ensures that the interface is less hectic, and the text is readable. It is difficult for your website to attract attention to a specific text or graphic information without white space. White space constitutes the areas on your web pages without text or graphics, margins, or padding. Overall, it enhances your website’s aesthetic value, which subsequently attracts visitors.
- Using a reasonable degree of white space enhances the attractiveness and readability of your text. On the contrary, improper use of white space can render your text clustered, which will confuse your users.
- It is recommended that you use appropriate line spacing to achieve a readable text height. The optimal line spacing for text is 150% of the font size.
Colour is an essential aspect of typography. With colour, designers can get creative and elevate the user interface to meet your site visitors’ needs. Using an appropriate text colour that stands out from the rest of the background is ideal in conveying the message’s tone. Getting the entire idea of the colour wrong will result in a messy interface with text and graphics that clash.
The three aspects to consider when choosing colour are hue, value, and saturation. Experienced designers would know how to apply the three aspects to come up with a visually appealing copy.
Establishing a clear text hierarchy is one of the most important principles applied in typography. Hierarchy in typography aims to express a clear distinction between the text pieces that should be noticed and read first and the standard copy. We live in an era where people’s concentration spans are continually decreasing. Thus, designers play catch up and design typefaces that are easily accessible by consumers and in the shortest time possible.
If you want to avoid having a messy and confusing user interface, strengthen your best et would be to keep your typefaces consistent. That includes sticking the same font styles and text size. This way, your readers can easily understand the content before them. Although it is vital to set a clear hierarchy, you have to ensure that the typefaces are consistent. For instance, you can keep a consistent font and text size for headers, one for subtitles and the other for your standard text copy.
Website alignment is a key element in typography. For whatever it is worth, most designers generally tend to align all the content centrally. It goes without saying that aligning everything in the middle is the easiest and straightforward way to balance content on the website. On the contrary, centre alignment is one of the weakest and hard-to-read types of alignment.
The left alignment is preferred, but you cannot use it all the time. Before settling for a specific alignment, it is imperative that you be sure of the importance of readability versus the alignment type you are willing to implement. The two aspects, alignment vs readability, always work in contravention to the other. As such, you should be careful to know which one you are compromising and under what circumstances.
Choosing the right typeface for your website
Now that we have covered the key factors to consider when creating and using good typography, we looked at the process of typefaces to use on your interface. There are countless typefaces to choose from, and this can be quite overwhelming. Settling for the most appropriate ones depends on much more than just how nice it looks. Therefore, before you make your choice of typefaces, here are a few considerations to bear in mind:
What is the perception and personality of your users?
Here, all you have to ask yourself is, how would you like your users to feel when they first see your landing page? Should they perceive a friendly atmosphere or a serious one? The type of typography you choose must reflect the personality of your brand. To get started on that, you can search online for the typefaces you should embody that reflect your brand or product’s traits.
What tone to reflect
Here, you have to ensure that the typefaces you choose to harmonize with your message’s tone. For instance, if the message you are trying to pass across is formal and serious, you have to avoid using decorative typeface types.
The browser performance of your typefaces
Often, many designers overlook the importance of choosing typefaces that are both user and browser friendly. Your best bet would be to download font characters with less weight, and you will avoid browser issues on your website. If you aren’t sure of what typography to use, then look around to see what others are doing. You can search online for typography hashtags and see if you notice any similar patterns.
Pros of good typography in web design
- Good typography attracts clients to your site and makes it easier for them to read your content.
- Complex but unsophisticated use of typography can make your website appearance unique in its way.
- Good typography gives a good look and structure to your website, making the content readable and your website legible.
- With proper colour contrast, you can highlight the most important aspects of your content that your users desire to see first.
- Typography allows you to express the ideas behind your website’s creation by the proper use of fonts and typefaces.
- With good typography, you can build your brand’s recognition by making users associate you with a particular type of typeface that you choose to feature on your website. If by doing so, you settle on a unique and consistent typeface, you will have a strong following who can trust your content.
Typography, as already stated, is the technique of designing text and letters so as to convey a specific message by reinforcing it in text. It involves arranging text and letters based on appearance. There is no denying that most designers often overlook typography. Still, it could be the difference between a site visitor staying on your website for 30 seconds or 30 minutes if done right. Besides, typography is a tool in web design, but it makes the entire process of web development whole and attractive.