Most people don’t give typography much thought despite its prevalence. But for web developers, designers and marketers, the typography—the visual art of creating written words—plays a significant role in design and brand perception. For instance, one of the most widely recognized brands McDonald’s, is distinguished by its unique “M.” The way McDonald’s big “M” is written sets it apart from other brands that have a big M logo as well such as, Marriott hotels and MTV. When it comes to branding, typography is a pretty big deal. Below explains some of the web typography best practices to help companies improve their online branding.
Why does typography matter?
Typography is used to effectively convey a message through visuals. However, good typography is more than just conveying a message: it’s an aesthetic display that makes writing not only legible, but also appealing.
Colour, spacing, and size are important elements that work together to draw the reader’s attention and to elicit an emotional response, and that lies the power of typography. Bad typography can distract your audience, and ultimately, alter the way they may see the underlying message. Good typography enhances the message or, at the very least, doesn’t detract from it.
How it affects user experience
Typography can drastically influence user experience, which in turn affects a website’s search engine optimization. For instance, studies have shown that users have font size preferences in relation to specific typefaces. As well, some typefaces read faster than others, with Times New Roman and Arial being the top performers in this category. Different typefaces can also influence how people feel about the content itself; for example, a reader’s sentiment on content credibility and positivity have been shown to be affected by typography.
This isn’t the only way the brain can be influenced by typography. Good typography can trick readers into believing that their reading sessions are shorter than they actually were. This is game changing, especially since most people have an attention span of eight seconds these days— seconds shorter than it was about two decades ago. Given that a goldfish has an average attention span of nine seconds, you’ll need all the help you can get it if you want to keep users on your website. So, don’t let bad typography cause people to leave your site! To help you succeed, below are the top typography trends this year to follow.
Current typography trends
– 1. The return of retro
Retro fonts have been featured everywhere from t-shirts to tv shows in the past year or so and the trend is still going strong. 70s and 80s fonts are where it’s at if you’re website needs a little bit of rebranding. Just remember the old adage that less is more when it comes to flashy typefaces, à la Stranger Things.
– 2. Big and bold
Big and bold practically comes hand in hand with retro. However, this trend is also being applied to a lot of different typefaces. Simple no-frills sans serif typefaces make for a good ‘bigify’ candidate without being too flashy.
– 3. Highlights
Remember having to cram for exams and highlighting every other word on the page in hopes of imprinting the words on your memory? Nowadays, highlighted fonts also serve a simple aesthetic purpose. Short and sweet is how you want to keep it if you’re going to follow the trend of using highlighted text in your website. Done right and with restraint, this look adds an instant cool factor to any website.
– 4. Custom lettering
Calligraphy and hand-lettering have been on-trend in the print world for a few years now, and are starting to pick up online. This is especially true for bigger brands who have the luxury to customize everything across the board. Despite this and done right, custom typography can help businesses of any size improve their branding. Definitely something to consider for your next re-branding project.
– 5. White space
People love open spaces. Nobody likes to be crammed side to side with total strangers in subway train, and nobody likes to read a wall of text on a dim little screen. Give your users white space to improve the user experience.
– 6. Colour harmony
While modern typography is breaking away from convention, it’s still important to have a harmonized colour scheme. Clashing colours are gaudy and disrupts the user experience. Be judicious and make use of a colour wheel to pick a few shades that work well together. And don’t forget to test out different screen resolutions, because what might seem like good contrast on one device might be indistinguishable on another.
– 7. Fluid typography
The mobile experience is now a priority. Fluid typography is relatively new to the scene but is a great way to provide the optimal typographic user experience that is scalable for a range of different devices, without the hassle of media queries and breakpoints. It makes use of viewport units, which are percentages that are relative to the browser viewport rather than a given element’s parent container.
Don’t make typography an afterthought
While typography is just an afterthought for most people when it comes to their web design, it’s actually a key feature that requires a lot of thought and planning. Everything from SEO to content reliability can be impacted by typography, which shows how big a role it can play in creating a strong user-experience.