Your business needs a fully functioning and easy-to-use website. Consumers are used to looking up information freely online, and easily finding everything they need about a business's product, service, or operations.
Because of that, a website's design is incredibly important. A poorly designed site will leave customers more confused than enlightened. One key element of a website's design is the choice of fonts or typefaces used for its body and header text—all the copy has to be clear and readable. This article aims to help business owners understand this particular element of a website’s design and choose the right fonts for their site.
What are the basics of website typefaces?
There are a couple of things business owners need to know when deciding on typefaces and fonts for their website.
The most important thing business owners need to keep in mind is that a website should use no more than three main fonts for titles, body text, and special accents.
- Primary font – The most visible font, which should be used in headers, banners, and titles (large text).
- Secondary font – Used for smaller body text. This should be the most readable font.
- Accent font – Used for special items on the website, such as buttons. This can be the font used on the brand logo.
The three main categories
The second thing they need to know is that there are only three typeface classifications that can be used for website text.
- Serif – With small lines at the end of strokes called serifs. Good for primary, secondary, or accent.
- Sans-serif – Clean-looking fonts without the serifs. Also good for any of the three font ranks.
- Scripts – Fonts that look like human handwriting. Usually best for primary and accent fonts.
Frequently asked questions about fonts for websites
What’s the most important thing in choosing a typeface or font?
After readability, you should consider your brand's identity and personality. Is it casual or sophisticated? Economical or more luxurious? Different sans-serif and serif typefaces can communicate your brand’s personality to customers and appeal to your target market.
Will free fonts be enough for my website?
Can I pay for a typeface if I want to?
The 5 best typefaces for websites
Here are five free typefaces to choose from that would be great for websites.
For websites that need a no-nonsense, modern, and minimalist look, a good sans-serif typeface like Avenir will do the trick. Avenir is highly geometric and made for long blocks of text, perfect for primary, secondary, and even accent fonts.
For websites wanting to exude an air of refinement, sophistication, and elegance, one can’t go wrong with a serif typeface like Garamond. The Garamond shown here is Adobe Garamond Pro, standard in almost all computers, and works best as a primary or secondary font.
For websites that need a solid primary font for banners and titles, a heavy typeface like Haettenschweiler is ideal. It’s not the best choice for a secondary font as it's challenging to read for extended text but pops off the page for larger copy.
Websites looking for a luxurious-looking typeface for their headers and titles, as well as accents, will do well to use the classic Bodoni typeface, generally used in many magazines and brand logos. Bodoni feels like a serif version of grotesque typefaces, retaining that same "aggressive" perception they have—with the added benefit of also being usable as a secondary font.
For websites that need a more personal touch on their text, a good script typeface like Mistral is widely available. This classic typeface, which most people are likely familiar with even without realizing, is best for titles and even accent fonts, although not for secondary fonts. If a designer is going with a script typeface, it has to be readable and the letters unambiguous.
Easy-to-create business websitesThese considerations for the website's design will be half the battle in selling the product and service. Once that’s all figured out, creating an online store and business site on Shopify is simple and easy. For a monthly fee, you can start, market, and manage your business on a platform that helps you do everything you need to build your brand online.