It’s called typography. The art and technique of arranging type to make written language readable and appealing. Dated back to the early 17th century it has been used in many countries by many languages for many reasons. You see it everywhere you look; magazines, billboards, books, on your cell phone, in your mail, on your box of cereal, stitched into your favorite jacket, on a website.
Typography and the font-faces we choose have a huge impact on multiple aspects of our website including readability, mood, perceived article length, user experience and much, much more. In order to properly portray the vision and mood of the website, it is essential that website designers know and understand the different principles (source: webinsation).
So… let’s talk about first impression. First impressions are lasting impressions. Whether we are talking about shaking someones hand, greeting them on a phone call, or an individual visiting your website. Something you may not realize is that typography helps to create an experience on a website before the visitors ever even click a button or read a word. The treatment of type creates an atmosphere and elicits a response much the same way as tone of voice does (source: smashing magazine). In saying that, typography can be said to establish the personality of the website.
Take the example of a resume. If you were an employer, which candidate would you be more likely to pass on for an interview?
Based on the look and feel of even the very first sentence of their resume you are most likely going to go with candidate B. The clean and clear font looks professional and conveys a distinguished mood helping you to feel the credibility behind their voice.
Let’s take an example of a logo. Imagine you find yourself unfortunately in need of a lawyer. Would you rather…
Most likely if you’re seeking someone to represent you in a court of law you’re going to want someone who looks like they know what their doing. Something as simple as the typeface of a logo can be the deciding factor between two potential candidates.
Alright, so we based on the two above examples we know that typography is very influential, but let’s talk again about your website. When potential clients first lay eyes on your page, you want to give the best first impression possible by setting the tone. Check out this College Humor video on how fonts give personality:
Anyways, one thing to keep in mind when choosing a font is legibility. And with the evolution of multiple device viewing, you’re going to want your webpage to look the same across all tablets, PCs, Macs, iPhones, etc. In other words, you’re going to want the fonts on your website to be responsive no matter which device it is being viewed on.
Traditionally, below is a list of fonts that are widely known as “web safe” because you can use them without embedding a font code in CSS.
In conclusion, when picking out a font for you website it can be quite overwhelming. You want something interesting and detailed that gives you credibility while still being edgy and hip. Be on the lookout for the things mentioned in this post (legible, responsive, etc), and remember the list of traditional fonts above as a safe zone when you’re not exactly sure what may or may not work for you.
Check out this article for more information: Web Font Typography