Typography, the art and craft of arranging type, is an important but sometimes overlooked element of your visual brand. When chosen and used well, typography can make your written content more meaningful and effective, and your brand more memorable.
Here are seven reasons why typography is important in web design.
1. It contributes to your brand tone and feel.
Your brand tone and feel isn’t driven by a single element. It’s the combination of multiple elements that creates an overall impression in users. Typography plays an important role in that, interacting with your brand colors, imagery choices, copywriting, and other design elements to create an overall impression.
For example, you could use a serif font for a more traditional and serious brand impression Or, for a modern, innovative vibe, you might choose a sans serif font. For a more stylized or thematic feel, you might use a display font. You may not know all of these font types but the point is that they all have specific effects and are used strategically by web designers to create a particular impression.
2. It helps captivate your audience.
Typography draws users into a web experience and helps to magnify the importance of your message. This can include the use of big or bold fonts. It can also include the combination of fonts with colors, underlined text, and contrasting styles.
Even if the user can’t point to exactly why (because typography doesn’t jump out at most users the way imagery or language choices do) strategic typography choices leave an emotional impression on users.
3. It enables you to connect with different audiences.
Strategic typography use can help you adapt your brand to connect with different segments of your audience without violating the rules of your brand guidelines.
For example, you could execute a marketing campaign targeting a specific demographic (e.g. senior citizens) and tailor typographic choices to them (e.g. using larger, less ornate fonts for clarity and readability).
4. It creates a distinct informational hierarchy.
Your typographic choices give users a visual structure to identify the most important information.
Hierarchy can be established using font size, placement, font weight (thickness of the letters), and color, amongst other techniques.
As an example, your headline, the most important message, would have the largest font size. Your subhead, with secondary messaging, would have a slightly smaller font size. Supporting body copy would then have an even smaller font size.
That makes it easy for users to scan your website and identify the most important information.
5. It delivers a more intuitive user experience.
Typography contributes to navigational clarity for users, giving them a clear path through your website. It helps them get the information they want when they want it. And it makes it easy for them to make decisions and take actions.
It also helps your business direct user actions and provide contextually relevant information. For example, a smaller type can be used to address potential user objections in an email opt-in. You could also use text as a visual cue to draw a user’s attention to a CTA or to highlight required information on a form.
While users might never specifically be aware of typography’s role in a pleasingly intuitive digital experience, web designers absolutely will. That’s the magic of typography use.
6. It helps create a cohesive brand across channels.
Consistently executed typography helps to create a cohesive brand that delivers a particular impression to users.
This is particularly true across channels, where consistent typography reinforces your brand identity, whether someone is engaging with it in any number of ways in the digital realm (on your website, in digital advertising, on social) or on an analog asset like a billboard on the side of the road.
7. It builds brand recognition.
Typography that’s visually appealing and well executed should stick in consumers’ minds. Some companies even create custom typefaces for their brand. But your typeface choices don’t have to be custom or overly distinct to be memorable.
Consistently and cohesively using typography builds an association between your typefaces and your brand. If consumers constantly see a certain typeface, they’ll associate it with your brand.
Final thoughts on typography
Typography is a strategic tool in web design.
It helps you achieve your branding goals and direct user actions on your website. It often works in ways that users don’t fully understand but that still leave a significant impression on them.
Typography, when used in concert with the other elements of web design, can make all the difference between an effective website that delivers conversions and one that is ignored or rejected by users.