Obviously, you want people to be able to read your site when they arrive, so the importance of a clear font cannot be overstated.
So what options do you have?
Serif v Sans Serif
Serif fonts have those little dangly bits at the end of the stroke, whereas sans serif fonts don’t (from the French sans = without) Sometimes personal preference comes into play – some readers naturally prefer one or the other – but here are a couple of things to consider.
Serif fonts tend to convey the following qualities: artistic, stately, traditional, conservative or intellectual.
Sans-serif fonts, on the other hand, feel technical, cool, clean, crisp, youthful, modern and uncluttered.
PC v Mac?
Some fonts look different depending on the operating platform. Arial, for example, looks better on a PC, while Helvetic is great for Mac users. Since you don’t know what type of computer your customers are using to browse, you are best to stick to a typeface such as Verdana – which was only invented in 1996 particularly for the Web. It’s a sans-serif font but does have a traditional “feel”. It’s also best to use a font that is pre-installed on both PCs and Macs – if you use an unusual font, and the computer that is browsing your site does not have that font installed, it will settle for a near-enough-is-good-enough option.
Standard serif fonts include Times New Roman or Georgia; standard sans-serif fonts are Arial and Verdana.
Again, you want people to be able to read the text on your website, so keep your body font size above 10pt, your subhead size about 12pt and your main head above 14 pt. Captions can be as small as 8pt.
Use normal text throughout, with bold or italic for emphasis. But use both of these sparingly, and decide which one – don’t bold some words and italicise others.
It’s OK to use colour to get attention (for example, a red “call now”), but again use it sparingly.
Follow basic rules of grammar, capitalising when needed, but don’t use all caps – which is considered akin to shouting at your reader.
If you want your website to attract attention through good design, including fonts, or you just want advice, call Direct Sites Online now on 02 9557 7623 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.