How to Choose a Font for Your Website
One of the first things people will notice when they land on your website is your font. Whether or not you realize it, your font choice communicates a lot about you and your business. Are you straightforward? Approachable? Chaotic? Pretentious? It can be a lot to think about! Luckily, there are a few universal rules for picking a font that can help you make an informed choice.
The first thing you’ll have to consider is whether you want a serif or sans serif font.
What's the difference?
Serifs are small strokes attached to the end of larger strokes, like this:
Sans serif, on the other hand, doesn’t have those lines and as a result has cleaner, more separated letters:
Using serif and sans serif
Fonts with serif make it easier for your reader’s eyes to follow the flow of the words, so you might want to use serif if you’re writing something longer (such as an article or detailed webpage). On the other hand, sans serif makes it easier to read individual words, so a sans serif font may be a good choice if you’re writing for children, for people with lower literacy skills, or if you need to deliver a quick, snappy message.
How fancy should your font be?
While you might be attracted to fancier fonts with a bit of flourish, those tend to be more difficult to read. A complicated font increases the risk that people get overwhelmed and leave your website, so when in doubt, go simple!
If you feel drawn to a particular more elaborate font that expresses your brand, you can still use it! However, you might want to limit your more complex fonts to titles or headers, so the creative component remains without taking away from the ease of reading.
While it may be tempting to use different fonts for contrast, more often than not this creates a jarring and chaotic look. You can create a variety of effects using bold, italics, underlines, or different sizes. The one exception is if you want to play with different fonts for titles or page headers as opposed to the main text. Even then, you’ll want to experiment with it first and make sure it gives off the desired effect.
Where does size come into play?
Since you don’t know whether your visitors will be viewing your website on a phone, computer, tablet, or widescreen tv, you’ll need to make sure your font looks good in a variety of sizes. Some fonts look great in some sizes but become illegible in others, so test out a few different ones before sending your website out into the world.
If you’re still stuck, these classic fonts are always a safe bet:
If none of these speak to you, play around and experiment with different fonts until you find one that feels right for your business and brand. Once you’ve chosen a signature font, chances are you won’t want to stray!