Putting together a website can be an overwhelming task. Much like building a house, there can be an endless number of things to customize when building your website, on both the front and back end. Of all the design choices to make, choosing the right font is perhaps the one that communicates the most about your brand.
To start, you’ll want to choose a web-safe font. Web-safe fonts are fonts that are commonly found across most operating systems. Web-safe fonts increase accessibility and speed in loading websites. While you can purchase a font, there are plenty of options available on Google Fonts, and they work well with a number of browsers.
Serif vs. sans-serif fonts
You’ll then want to decide what kind of font you’d like to use. There are two basic types of fonts: serif and sans-serif. Serif fonts are the ones that have an extra flourish, or “non-structural detail,” on the end points of the letters. They typically look more traditional, formal and serious than sans-serif fonts. Sans-serif fonts are simply fonts without this flourish (sans meaning “without”). Serif fonts are most legible in print because of the higher resolution, while sans-serif fonts are easier on-screen because of the need for the letters to be produced on a grid. You could think of your font as your message’s outfit–you’ll want to choose the right look for business, casual, or whatever else you want to convey.
Your website will likely use a mix of these fonts. For most websites, the headings are in a sans-serif font. Since serif fonts are easier to read at a distance, they’re good for the smaller print on your site (like blog posts). If you used a theme to set up your website, there will likely be two to four fonts used throughout the site, which can be easily customized with CSS.
Choosing the right font can be challenging — or it can be a lot of fun. Relax and remember — even the biggest brands change up their look. You can always keep trying new fonts until you find one you love.