Fonts, as the saying goes, make the world go round. Maybe that’s not exactly how the phrase is originally worded, but anyone who works in print and design will tell you that it’s true nonetheless.
By some calculations, there are some 36,000 font families, with more than half a million different fonts in existence. What’s more, font designers are coming up with more unique fonts all the time. Fonts that are unusual, quirky, stand-out, in a league of their own — but not all fonts are created equal.
To choose a font for your web design, it has to be something truly special.
What are the most important factors? There are several, and they differ depending on the type of design you’re creating and the market you’re working in. But they can be boiled down to three:
Let’s take a look at these three factors in greater depth.
Most Important Factors In Choosing A Font For Your Web Design
As a web designer, you probably have a list of favourite fonts, your tried and true that you go back to time after time. But whether you’re interested in adding some fresh blood to the roster, or you’re a new designer looking for the best fonts out there to get your point across, these three factors should factor (pun intended) into your decision.
The uniqueness of a font is an important element for all aspects of design, especially those portions that involve branding, which is also affected by the “on-brand” factor listed here.
This needs consideration because, with the veritable cornucopia of fonts out there, it’s inevitable that some of them will look somewhat alike. Some fonts within font families even are difficult to tell apart, except for certain portions of certain letters. And while there are tons of fonts out there, not all of them are suitable for web design, which means that the ones that are tend to get used — and used again and again.
Choosing a truly unique font for your web design requires that you be aware of what is trending, and what choices other designers in your niche are making. The last thing you want is a website that looks like a copycat.
One of the primary functions of a website is to deliver necessary information to the visitor, and everything about the design needs to facilitate that. User experience and the user interface are affected by every design choice — you may choose a very unique, quirky, unusual font, but if it’s difficult to read, you’ve sunk your chances of a great user experience.
Always look for fonts that are not only legible, but are actually easy to read. Of course, the sizing, layout and formatting, and colour choices all play a part in this as well.
A final important consideration for choosing a font is how well the message comes through — not just the content itself, but how the style of font reflects the personality of the company, organisation, or individual behind the site. You’d choose a different type of font for a site dedicated to philanthropy, for example, than you would for one devoted to selling used Macbooks online. Always choose fonts that fit the “personality” of the page, as well as the organisation that it represents.
If this seems confusing to you, just try to imagine a law firm’s website rendered in Comic Sans, and you’ll probably get what we mean.
It’s a good idea to read up on choosing fonts that are device-proofed, or “web-safe”, since how fonts are rendered can often depend on the device that is being used.
Best Fonts For Web Design
Now that you know the general guidelines for selecting a font for your web design, here are some of the 10 most popular, user friendly, and design-friendly font choices out there.
Arvo is a great, simple, but dramatic slab serif. It’s very readable, and even without being bolded, carries a feeling of strength and durability.
Merriweather is excellent for web design because of its enduring legibility even at smaller sizes.
Open Sans is one of the more frequently seen faces in web design, largely because of its informal feel and readability.
Proxima Nova is a sans-serif with a clean, professional tone.
Oswald is another sans-serif, with a nostalgic design harkening back to newsprint.
Barlow offers a low-contrast, high-readability option, with highway signs and license plates for inspiration.
Lato is another clean sans-serif with warmth and rounded edges.
Forum is an excellent, unusual serif with intriguing notes and an off-kilter take on the classic.
Questrial is solid and rounded, and was actually designed with website use in mind.
Tisa is a good choice to add a little more uniqueness to a site while still retaining legibility and professionalism.
How To Choose A Font For Your Web Designs
The ten options we’ve listed here are all popular choices and have been recommended by designers and typeface enthusiasts around the web.
However, there’s a caveat — just choosing a font because someone else suggested it or because you think it looks neat isn’t the best way to go about things.
Make sure that the three rules we’ve listed here apply before you make your final selection. And remember that the suggestions in this article can be viewed as just that: suggestions. You may find inspiration from them, but be inspired to choose a different font entirely!
About Veronica Johnson
Veronica likes reading, writing and exploring through her travel. With her freelance guest writing, she hopes to achieve both her passion and career in online content marketing. She writes on topics like business, advertising and digital marketing.