Typefaces can be the poor man of web design. There’s so much else that’s novel or exciting about digital platforms – animation! video! parallax scrolling! – that the humble font can be overlooked.
This, however, would be a mistake. In fact, bold and striking typefaces have been one of the big trends in web design over the last year or so. That’s because they can be very effective at engaging visitors straight away, as soon as they land on your homepage.
A great typeface makes a statement almost subliminally. Getting your fonts right can in this way add some serious punch to your design – and give real character to your brand. If you play your typeface cards right, your visitors will be hooked instantly.
So what’s the secret? A lot of the typeface trick, as in any other aspect of design, is in understanding your brand and expressing it elegantly in your choices. That said, there are some elements of typography that you can consider in order to hit the right balance for you.
Be Minimal – but Dramatic
The temptation when toying with typefaces is to go wild. The problem with showily fabulous fonts, though, is that they can be distracting. Take comic sans, that much-hated font which purports to have lots of character. The reason designers hate it is because it’s unbalanced – its balance and shape and legibility are all compromised by its desire to be so kooky.
Don’t fall into this trap. Use a simple font that makes a big impact. Consider fonts like Fat-Frank, Frontage or Poly. These sorts of font will convey meaning and attract – but not distract – attention.
Keep Creatively Simple
Don’t over-use effects or point sizes. Be creative, but don’t go overboard. In just the same way that you want your typeface to speak eloquently but not always shout, think carefully about how to use it. Maybe you could do something very straightforward like using ALL CAPS to make your message loud and clear, instead of using italics, underlines and bold? It’s worth considering.
If bold typefaces are a big trend in minimal web design right now, so too is integrated video and animation. The great news is that you can do both at the same time.
By using bleed – that is, placing an object in front of the text – or including video in the background of a text area, you can add visual interest to your site whilst still letting your text do the talking. Maybe your text can extend beyond the bounds on an image, or be partially obscured by one? This is a trick often used in comic books to make panels look dynamic – it can work online too.
In short, typefaces can make text sing. Great-looking text seals the deal with customers online, so don’t ignore the writing on your website … or it might wind up on the wall for you!
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