Making the Most of Web Design Fonts and Typography
Every year, typography becomes a more critical component of great design and web design fonts play a huge role. Some websites rely almost entirely on great type faces, focusing nearly as much on text as they do on imagery – sometimes more. While most of our clients barely notice the web design fonts style of text on their websites, it makes a huge difference in keeping people reading and, more importantly, what their eyes focus on.
A great looking image is just an image until a tagline helps not only define it but the company’s message.
Defining your company with a single word can produce dramatic results. Choosing the right font for the job is critical to conveying your message and making it both legible and impactful.
Setting the tone with images and words, making a bold statement, will keep your potential customers interested and make them want to literally learn more.
In the early days of the web, web design fonts were limited to what most people had installed on their computers. Type faces like Times, Arial and Courier became the standard fonts one virtually every website. Eventually, designers wanted more and fonts became embeddable. Now, nearly every font, of which there are literally millions, became available for use on a website for display or even for standard text.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that the vast majority of web design fonts are subject to license restrictions. The designers of those type faces, understandably, want to profit from their creations. Buying a font for your computer is cheap. But, licensing one for a website or for an online publication can be expensive. A single type face can cost $79 to purchase with a limit of half a million page views. And that is just for the regular. Want boldface, italics, bold-italic? It’s even more.
Fortunately, like so many things on the internet, there are hundreds of thousands of free, open source fonts available for use, including a huge repository from Google. This is particularly helpful for a company that wants to use a font they purchased for a logo, for example, throughout a website. Using the original, licensed type face may be cost prohibitive, but finding a similar alternative is almost always possible.
Take for example the popular font Proxima Nova. It is widely used in print and for online publications. But, it is licensed. Enter Montserrat, a free font that has a striking similarity to Proxima Nova, but with some key differences, at least to the discerning eye.
This is actually slightly inaccurate. This is Montserrat Light. The regular version is a little thicker than Proxima. Additionally, Montserrat is a bit wider and has some modest differences – note the less stylized lowercase ‘a’ for example. The difference, albeit subtle, are there. But, the average person won’t notice the difference and the end result is a still beautiful design without the hassle and expense of a font license.
It should be noted that if you really do need a font because of its unique style, buy it! These are artists crafting these fonts for very little money and they deserve to be compensated if you choose to use their handiwork. But, if you need an alternative, there are loads of open source options. Our designers create website designs almost exclusively with open source fonts to avoid license problems, but be sure to ask your designer what they are using BEFORE you get too deep into a website design to avoid being hit with a license penalty or a cease and desist letter.
Using great type faces and quality fonts in your website design is easy if you have the right team. Site Mender has been providing quality typography and font-friendly web design since 2001 along with WordPress, SEO and website maintenance. Please read more about the services we provide and visit our website design portfolio.