You’ve been exploring the Internet and noticed that the fonts and font styles used on most websites are the same or similar. There are very few details separating the types on these websites and they’re starting to come across as cookie cutter. Is there a reason to all this madness and why can’t people be more original? When it comes to type, fonts and typography there is a reason for all the madness that you’re experiencing on the Internet. The reason why most websites use the same or similar font is because of the readability between the fonts. What you need to know to get started on this lesson is the difference between serif vs. sans serif fonts.
“When it comes to type, fonts and typography there is a reason for all the madness that you’re experiencing on the Internet.”
Serif fonts are those fonts with extra decorative strokes added to the characters. They’re more stylish and traditional fonts used mainly in print media. Serif fonts are used for print materials because the decorative strokes make the font easier to read on paper. Fonts in this category include Times New Roman and other similar fonts. While serif fonts are great for print, it’s not highly recommended for online usage because the opposite is true online vs. print. Serif fonts make it harder to read electronically because of the extra strokes added to the characters. You may notice that legal blurbs are often printed electronically in serif not only because it’s more traditional, but it makes it harder for the reader to read the entire content. Why bother reading when you can just skim through and agree, right?
“Serif fonts are used for print materials because they make them easier to read.”
Sans serif fonts are smoother fonts without the little strokes added to the characters. Fonts in this category include Arial and many other similar fonts. These fonts are designed mainly for electronic usage, but can often be found on print as well. The smoother edges of the sans serif font makes them easier to read vs. serif fonts on electronic medium. The reason why most websites seem to be using the same fonts is because they are using a base sans serif font that presents well to readers. Although readability is a definite must, people with more of a design edge will often include the use of slight serifs or even cursive in their designs. The reason for this is not to decrease the readability, but rather to enhance the design and style of the websites.
“The smoother edges of the sans serif font makes them easier to read vs. serif fonts on electronic medium.”
Things to avoid when designing your website is using a font that has heavy serif. Always try to find a balance between style and usability, otherwise your visitors may turn away from your content. Although more traditional industries such as law and medicine are more inclined to use serif, too much or heavy serif will turn your client’s attention elsewhere. Focus on the usability and try to design and style with other elements, such as photos, graphics and videos.
“Always try to find a balance between style and usability, otherwise your visitors may turn away from your content.”
With that being said, not all type has to be the generic type. Google has an array of fonts with different characteristics which can be used on websites. The best part about Google fonts is that you can reference the online repository when using the fonts and don’t need to host the font yourself. Google has an impressive community for their contributions to online typography. As designers and enthusiasts you want to watch which type you use and its effect on the readability or usability of the website. It’s time to kiss bad type goodbye.
“Google has an array of fonts with different characteristics which can be used on websites.”
When you’re ready to implement a solution that takes away from the cookie cutter cutouts and implements your style and design with a usability focus, contact us to complete your next web, flyer or brochure design project. We’ll be sure to implement a well-balanced design for your audience so you can experience great results from your product.
Sokly Sa is Founder, President & CEO at The Lucky Tekkie Inc. He was born on October 7th, 1984 and made his entrance into the world at a United Nations refugee camp located in Thailand. He immigrated to Canada with his family when he was five years old and immediately fell in love with the Commodore 64 at his uncle's home. He grew up immersed with computer and technology and enjoyed playing computer games when he was younger. Between being a straight A-student in elementary school and his homework course load, Sokly kept entertained with games such as Sim City, Sid Meier's Civilization and MegaRace. He first learned HTML in grade seven, at the age of 13, when a friend in junior high shared a tutorial on the markup language.
In 2005, Sokly graduated from the Adult Learning Centre in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada as Valedictorian. He then attended CDI/Everest College and graduated in 2007 in the Programmer Analyst/Web Developer program. Sokly's first professional IT experience was as an entrepreneur, when he quickly built up his portfolio to gain an entrance into the industry. Sokly was employed as a Web Developer at The Strategy Institute in Toronto, Ontario, from 2011-2013, then moved onto other companies, including digOnline (Digital Internet Group Inc.) and EyeLook Media. Sokly has also worked for national and global corporations, including Telus, where he worked as a Sales Representative at a Corporate Store; TeleTech, where he worked as a Customer Service Representative (Billing & Technical Support) on behalf of Charter Cable; Convergy as a Technical Support Representative, working on behalf of AT&T; and at Marriott International, working as an Infrastructure Analyst and other roles related to Sales/Marketing, including his current role as a Luxury Service Associate.
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