Since movable type was invented in the 11th century and reinvented in the 15th, typography became a key element of design and a huge industry itself. The design of a text says just as much as the words themselves—it communicates tone to the reader before they start to interpret the content.
Each font we see day-to-day has been carefully chosen, and often goes unnoticed. Typography has subconscious psychological effects, adding a certain mood to the overall impression of the text—be it a book, website or even a bus ticket.
The number of typefaces is growing every day, as people become more aware of their influence. With over 90,000 typefaces to choose from, it can be hard to decide which on suits your website best.
The style and appearance of text tells readers what to expect. For example, if you publish something in Comic Sans your readers likely won’t take it seriously. The font Gotham, on the other hand, has a different effect.
Gotham was commissioned by GQ magazine in 2000 and made famous in Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. The no-nonsense typeface is confident, but also ordinary and familiar. It demonstrates the direction in with typography has been moving, and how it can be used to reinforce the meaning of a text. (View Gotham’s use in Obama’s 2008 campaign poster.)
Japanese type designer Akira Kobayashi, the designer of a new typeface for Sony called SST, said that he believes display experience is becoming more important all the time – particularly as devices become more compact. This is especially relevant when we consider the sheer volume of website traffic that comes from mobile devices (Google are also privy to this!)
“Usability and enjoyable content depend on clear, legible printing and on-screen text,” Kobayashi said. “Typefaces are also key elements of design that shape our impression of products and the user experience itself.”
A well-considered typeface teamed with quality images on a website make a big impact on users. Typography used correctly in web design grabs the consumer and sends your message.
So what do you want your website to say?