Research has shown that even slight changes to your typography can have a major impact on how your business is perceived.
If you look around online you’ll discover there are a huge variety of fonts, typefaces, sizes, letter-spacing, weights and line-heights to pick from. So how best to choose? In this article, we discuss our approach to getting the most from web typography.
At Tartan we view typography as the non-verbal component of written communication. It forms an important part of the unique visual identity that distinguishes your business from the competition. Here are some of the principles we follow when selecting fonts.
1. Match typefaces to their context
Using a typeface in the wrong context can make it difficult, or even impossible, for a customer to navigate and read your site. It is therefore important to consider where a typeface will appear, as well as the likely size of the text and the function it’s intended to perform.
Eye-catching display typefaces are good for logos but they will harm the user experience if used for navigation, headings or large blocks of text. We think that the best-designed websites make use of different typefaces for the logo, navigation, section headings and paragraph text.
It’s generally best to choose the paragraph typeface first as this will act as the anchor of your composition and will be what your users see most of. Other typefaces, such as the display typeface and the typefaces for the logo, navigation and headings, can then be chosen to complement the paragraph typeface
2. Prioritise legibility over style
If a site’s copy is hard to read then visitors will not stick around for long. Although it can be tempting to trying something unique for its own sake, we usually caution against this approach.
The key to good legibility is the x-height of a fonts typeface. We aim to use a typeface which has a higher x-height as this makes the text more readable.
Line-length and letter-spacing are two other considerations. Where possible, we recommend avoiding typefaces where letters are squeezed together as this makes reading difficult. We aim for an average line-length of around be 45–75 characters (including spaces) as this is most comfortable on the eye.
3. Compliment tone of voice
Whether your tone is serious and sombre or fun and playful, there will be a typeface to match. By matching the typeface to the tone of voice in your writing, you can convey a compelling and consistent a personality for your business.