When publishing work for users to read, be it online or in print, it is important to not only consider the contentbut also the design. While colour, size, and layout obviously play a large role in design, a crucial but not always understood element to consider is font. In the next two posts I will show you which fonts are appropriate for use online and which are better suited for print.
This week I will focus on Web Friendly Fonts. These fonts are ideal for blogs and websites for a number of reasons and it is important to keep them in mind. You may have great ideas to share but if your users can’t read your post then you will have a hard time conveying your message.
Firstly, fonts help set the tone for your post, from serious to more laid back, so choosing an appropriate font can help reinstall your message with your readers. For example, if you’re writing on a serious topic it doesn’t make sense to type in a more relaxed font as it may dilute your point.
Additionally, due to a number of factors, some fonts are easier to read from a screen than others. To make sure people read your post try to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Consider that your client may be visiting your page just before bed – would someone with tired eyes easily be able to read your post? If not, it may be a good time to consider a new font.
Lastly, not all web browsers and operating systems support all fonts. To ensure your post appears consistently for all readers it is important to choose fonts that are widely available.
An Important Note
You’re probably familiar with the term ‘serif’ but may not know exactly what it means. It’s actually really straightforward – serif refers to a font with small lines or markings at the end of its letters. Conversely, ‘sans serif’ means without the serif lines. An example of a serif font is Times New Roman and an example of sans serif is Arial.
Web Friendly Fonts
There are quite a few web friendly font options available. I’ll go through some of the most popular selections but for more options click here.
Arial is a sans sarif font with a number of variations (Arial Bold, Arial Narrow, etc). It is widely available across operating systems and browsers and is good when used for headings or larger type. It does become moredifficult to read at smaller font sizes as the letters can seem too close together or overlapping. Remember: consider your tired reader! In general, Arial is a good font when used at an appropriate size but since it is widely used itlacks character for more personal content.
Similar to Arial, Verdana is a sans sarif font and is also widely available. Verdana’s readability, however, is much better. Because the spacing between letters is larger and each letter is more spread out, it is easier to read at smaller font sizes. One downside to Verdana is that because of the increased spacing it does use more lines on your site. The tone of this font is somewhat relaxed but due to its readability Verdana can be auniversal font.
Times New Roman
Times New Roman is our first serif font and, like the previous fonts, it is also widely available. It’s an older fonts – dating back to 1932 – and is therefore more classic and traditional, making it a good fit for more serious topics. Because of the serifs and the smaller spacing between letters it is not ideal for smaller text which is alright since, as a rule, we never use serif fonts in the body of a website. Because it is legible in larger sizes, the only instance where sarif fonts should be used online is for headings.
This font was developed as a more web and reader friendly serif font and an alternative to Times New Roman. It is generally available and is easier to read in smaller sizes although still not ideal. As a serif font, it sets a similar formal tone as Times New Roman and should still only be used for headings.
The font you use is important to consider when creating an online posting. To ensure your post is as successful as possible make sure to take the tone you want to convey, readability, and availability of your fonts into consideration. Also remember, NEVER use serif fonts in the body of your article and consider your tired reader!