Typography: Choosing Fonts Part 1

In choosing a font for a website you should consider three things:

  • the purpose of the font;
  • the feeling you wish to convey; and
  • the level of formality you need.

As mentioned in the previous post the purpose will determine the appropriate type, size and colour to use. Ask yourself will the font be used to showcase the body or will it be used for headings and other display features.

If the font will be used for the body text you will need to use clean simple fonts that are easy on the eye. The purpose of the font for the body text is to make it very readable. The recommended font size is usually 11 point although depending on the type you can use anything from 9 to 12 point. Again, remember that if your audience consists of the elderly make sure you use a big font size (12 to 14 point). It would also be a good idea to provide a way to change the font size easily.

If the font will be used for headings and other display features you will be needing bigger font sizes. You can also emphasise the heading by using a different colour for the font or even a different background colour to make the heading pop out. You can use the same font used in the body text to get a more consistent feel or you can opt for a fancier font. The choice for this will depend on the next two factors that will be discussed in the succeeding posts on choosing fonts.

to be continued…

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