Mar 6, 2020

Typography is the Key to All Star Web Design

Jenalee Janes

Whether you like it or not, typography is an integral part of web design. It can make or break the aesthetic and readability of your entire web page, so you need to consider carefully when you’re picking out the fonts that will make up your website.

For a long time, one of the greatest debates surrounding typography was whether to choose a serif or sans serif font. Depending on the medium, each of these can affect the readability of the text you have on the page, as well as how it is perceived by the reader. Traditionally, serif fonts have been dubbed “more professional,” but the tides may be turning in the present day.

Even more importantly, serif and sans serif font isn’t the only thing we have to worry about anymore. The main goal of any web designer is to entice its comers to stick around a little longer and its goers to come back.

To do this in an age where everyone is trying to repeat similar information across a variety of websites, you have to make sure that your design--and therefore your typography--stands out from the rest of the crowd. We’re here to tell you about some of the best typography trends on the internet today.

On their own, the different patterns inside the three-dimensional bolded letters of Boston might seem out of place, but when you place it next to the design of the cityscape, you can see that it’s actually very well integrated.

Big, Bold, and Beautiful Typography

Bold text, as a rule, is something that immediately draws the eye’s attention, so it may be exactly what you need to bring more traffic to your website. In most cases, when we think of bold text, we think of it as something that is situated in a larger body of text as a way of emphasizing certain words, phrases, or ideas.

That being said, bold text isn’t only useful within the body of your website’s content--it can also be a quite effective design tool when it comes to headlines and establishing brand name recognition.

Within the past few years, web design has seen an explosion of bold text being used exactly in this way. Rather than hero images, some websites are beginning to use banners containing nothing but the website’s name in big, bold text at the top of the page. The typography becomes the website’s design in this case. It becomes a sort of brand.

If done well, this can be a great way to draw people to your website and get them to stay there--which leaves you with a greater chance of brand name recognition. A clean font on a simple background can go a long way in terms of design.

Be careful if you’re thinking of using a bold typography and dabbling with color, however. You’ll want your website to be cohesive and aesthetically pleasing all the way down the page. It’s okay to take risks with color, but keep in mind you’re going to want all of the other images you feature on your website to be well-integrated with the rest of the design, so try not to use colors that might easily clash with other colors.

Serif fonts are traditionalist, but against a minimalist background, they can be quite welcoming.

Get Your Foot in the Door Typography

Just because it’s not the most important factor in web design these days, that doesn’t mean that the debate over serif vs. sans serif typography isn’t still raging. There isn’t really a clear answer to this debate. Both have their pros and cons, but at the end of the day, which you choose really comes down to the type of content you’re trying to produce and what other design elements you’re including in your website.

The debate itself is concerned with two main factors that may or may not put constraints on when and how you should utilize serif and sans serif fonts: readability and professionalism. In the past, it has been suggested that serif fonts are more readable in print than they are on a computer screen because they can’t be obstructed by pixels when they’re on a sheet of paper. It has also been suggested that they are more professional.

Sans serif fonts, on the other hand, are typically viewed as much more readable on a computer screen, as well as something very modern (and, therefore, less “professional”). The actual validity of any of these claims remains to be seen, but keep in mind that they could have an effect on the strength of your web design.

Despite its potential limitations, however, many companies have begun to incorporate serif fonts into their website design. Particularly when it comes to minimalist designs, serif fonts are a great way to draw people in with professional, yet inviting design elements that almost anyone will appreciate.

Even something as simple as using a word cloud generator to create headings for your article can make words the focal point of your website.

Typography as Design

Your typography is an integral part of the design of your website, but until recently no one had ever really thought of how it might function as the design on a web page. This could be a really effective way to stand out above a host of other web designers. Typography as design brings the focus of a website solely to the words themselves. In most cases, this means that through a series of typographical and formatting decisions, the text itself is able to replace images as a means of design.

A web design that’s built with typography allows for a greater emphasis on the message you are trying to put across in your website. With no images to accompany them, the words are then given priority on the page because they are both design and content. Anyone who comes to visit your website is less likely to lose the meaning you’re trying to convey with the text if there are no distractions from other design elements, such as images. Words give you control of your own narrative.

A text-based design isn’t the easiest thing to bring to life if you really want to wow your audience to enjoy both the content of your website and what it looks like. People, more often than we’d probably like, tend to become uncomfortable when they’re faced with a wall of text. That’s why we need some element of design to hold their attention.

One of the most effective ways to carry out the process of using your typography as design is to make your website interactive. Can you, for instance, make the text fade in at the bottom and out at the top as someone scrolls? What about a hover function whereby you can read the headlines from reports on whatever subject you’re writing about when you hover over a keyword? Whatever you choose, make it memorable.

Highlighting the important bits of the text on your website is a great way to guide your readers through the page and make your website stand out from the rest.

Just the Highlights, Please

Okay, this one isn’t so much about consolidating the content of your website into the “highlights,” but it is about designing your page with highlights in mind. That is, real, bright streaks of color that point out important words or phrases that may be hidden in the text of your web page.

Most people don’t spend a lot of time perusing every single website that they open. In fact, many people go into a website with a specific goal in mind. They’ll most likely do a precursory scan to see if your page has what they’re looking for and decide whether or not they want to keep browsing based on that brief interaction. What better way is there to convince them to stay with you a little longer than to point out exactly what it is this page of your website is offering to them?

You can choose any color of the rainbow, or every color of the rainbow if you’d like, but marking up the text of your website with streaks of bright, translucent colors is a surefire way of making sure your readers know exactly what it is they’re about to find on the page. Bonus points if you can somehow incorporate the colors in a way that matches the rest of the website’s design.


Typography is really all about inviting your audience to take a slice of the design pie you’re offering them. To do this, you need to keep your typography as, well, inviting as possible. First, consider your content. The point of your website is the content itself, so once you know what that is and how you want to approach it, you can think about what design practices will best help you carry that out.

Consider your typography carefully because it really can make or break the entire design of your website. Think about how it reflects your content, the feelings it evokes, the meanings it brings in its own right. Once you’ve done this, you’re well on your way to creating a well-designed, quality content website.