Nannapass Phiboonvittayaruk (Eung) is a UX/UI Designer with various experience in design background. At Morphosis Apps, she worked on the Ttb Bank app to build customer experience in facilitating retail lending for credit card and loan users.

Business, Design
Typography in Web Design

The Importance of Typography in Web Design

The advancement of UI design shows that much of the design comes from massive, captivating visualizations that include screen layout, transitions and interface animations.

Every website conveys the purpose and passion of the business to its users, and in a digital world, the easiest method to accomplish that is through typography.

Typography accounts for 95% of a website’s design. Many aspects, such as font choice, adequate length and size of the text, as well as the hierarchy of the typographical layout helps guide users through the site.

Typography contributes to the way the content on a web page is read and understood by users. For this reason, understanding its significance and following the proposed methods are some of the easiest ways to stand out in your niche and build a better online experience for your customers.

In this article, we’ll uncover all there is to know about typography, the various typographic components and what they all signify so you can give the most impactful experience to your users.

Typography in Web Design
Source from Unsplash

What is typography?

Typography is the technique of structuring letters and words in a way that improves the legibility, readability and even navigation of a website. It helps create an aesthetically pleasing interface for users and in short, it gives life to the text.

All these elements are important since they provide a pleasant reading experience for users, often making the difference between users taking an action on your website or dropping off.

As Oliver Richenstein once said, “A great designer knows how to work with text not just as content, he treats text as a user interface.”

The four main typefaces in typography

Each text you read on a screen utilizes a typeface that influences the ambience, tone and visual layout of a site. There are some misunderstandings about the difference between typefaces and fonts, with many people using the terms interchangeably.

A typeface is a design style that has many different sizes and weights letters, whereas a font is a graphical representation of text structure.

Simply put, a font is a family of related typefaces whereas fonts refer to the typesetting weights, widths and styles. With that said, there are four main types of typefaces you’ll often find on the web:

  • Serif
  • Sans serif
  • Slab serif
  • Script

Serif and Sans Serif typefaces are the most commonly used sets of typefaces on the web.

Serifs are more conventional, consistent, and official. They improve the readability of long paragraphs.

Sans-serifs are more casual and simple than serifs; because they render well on low-resolution displays and are the recommended option for web design. Both are commonly used for body content or headlines (including titles, logos, and so on).

While the slab typeface is meant to grab attention, with its most important feature that is; thick and bold. The script typeface is meant to imitate the varied and often dynamic handwriting strokes and should be kept for special events, such as prominent headings, and more.

Why typography is important in web design

Typography is far more than just choosing an appealing typeface. It is a vital aspect of UI design.

Great typography sets an effective visual hierarchy, offers a graphical balance to the website and determines the overall tone of your digital product which in turn creates a positive user experience.

Let’s dig a little deeper into why typography is so important.

1Helps maintain consistency

One of the most essential parts of typography in web design is consistency. Typography maintains consistency across a site, which makes it more professional.

It incorporates several guidelines generating a concise messaging hierarchy that enhances your website readability which will lead to a great experience for users.

The consistency of your fonts also helps prevent a complex and unwieldy interface. You must utilize the same font type while providing the information so that your readers understand what they read immediately.

2Grabs the reader’s attention

Typography has a large impact on how users view your website. Good typography helps create a visual hierarchy (the method of organizing elements to indicate their importance) on your website that is both memorable and aesthetically pleasing for your users.

Most importantly, it directs your users’ attention to areas you’d like to emphasize on each page.

3Improves readability

Reading huge amounts of text, particularly on a computer monitor or smartphone screen, can quickly induce eye strain and tiredness.

Great typography helps prevent wearing out your visitors and encourages lengthy periods of pleasant binge-reading, by using bigger font, a bold and clear typeface, and empty spaces between paragraphs. This also aids in the distribution of content and information more effectively.

4Creates and builds recognition

Good typography not only increases the uniqueness of your website but subsequently, potential users start connecting the typeface displayed on your site with your brand.

Distinctive, cohesive typography will help you create a good user experience, build trust with your users and support the growth of your brand.

5Maintain hierarchy

Hierarchy is one of the most important typographical principles. The goal of typographic hierarchy is to clearly distinguish major copy pieces to be seen first. It is important that your visitors get a visual insight of the most important content early on in their experience.

In this time of short social media attention, designers are advised to be succinct and to develop content that enables users to absorb the essential information fast.

Typography mistakes in web design

When developing and designing a website, typography is easy to ignore and confusing typography may drive potential customers and users away. We have highlighted some of the major mistakes designers should be aware of when it comes to typography.

1No proper leading / line-height

This is the space between text lines. When there is room between lines for the eyes to rest, reading becomes more exciting. In general, try using a minimum of 2 points higher than the size of the type. For example, for optimal readability 10pt type should have a lead of 12pt.

Excessive line-height makes it harder for a reader to get to the next line and can hinder understanding, which is another readability issue that many designers experience. It is often worth having a look at newspapers and magazines for insights on restricting the lines of your content.

2Inadequate tracking

Tracking, also known as letter-spacing on the web, is the distance between letters over a full word or phrase. The larger the tracking, the more room available for the letters that compose a word.

Designers usually change the tracking to suit the typeface so that it matches a certain line length and, while minor changes are acceptable, adding too much tracking might lessen the copy’s readability.

3No proper alignment

When it comes to web typography, alignment is an essential factor. On tiny screens, the human brain prefers to read the text in blocks. Texts are often left-aligned, which results in a ragged edge on the right side of the block.

4Lack/too much contrast

Another component of typography that might affect readability is contrast. If the contrast between the text and the background is not enough, the content could become unreadable.

The same goes for an excess of contrasts and too many styles on a single page. It looks unprofessional and makes it difficult to read as there are too many typographies and design styles on the same page. Always use a single font and two saturation choices to prevent this (e.g., normal and bold).

5Lack of typography guideline

Typography guidelines outline the fonts and keep the fonts consistent when designing for a particular brand and oftentimes many designers fail to implement it. WIthout typography guidelines, the sizes, spacing, consistency and correct use of the typeface can not be established.

Typography rules that will help you in web design

We have put together useful tips, which can help you enhance your typography design significantly to make your design journey interesting.

1User-friendly headers

It makes no difference how helpful the content is if it lacks a good header since headlines are the first words that a reader sees.

To begin, the size of the header is equally as essential as the size of the body text. Going overly broad with the header with a lot of content might throw the reader off-balance and cause them to lose their focus while reading.

Always use a user-friendly header, make bold statements and target a phrase with high search volumes for unique and clickable headlines.

2White space

White space, often known as ‘negative space,’ is the space around text or graphics. Proper use of white space ensures that the interface is neat and visible giving your design a clean, organized appearance.

White space may even draw attention to the content and provide an aesthetically pleasing overall experience. Many parts of the process and result are determined and dictated by your use of white space.

3Density of text

Text density refers to the number of words in an area. Content density has a great impact on the readability of your content. Spacing variables like line height and letter spacing, text size, all affect density.

In this case, to have a good density that is clear and scannable, you need to establish the balance between all these such that the contents are neither too compressed nor too dispersed.

4Hierarchy

Every typographic layout requires the necessary element of hierarchy. As it helps indicate where the user should begin reading and where they should continue reading. By simply providing contrast to various priority contents, readers and viewers may follow it easily.

5Emphasis of elements

The emphasis on specific elements in body content is another major aspect. This will involve highlighting links, bolding key texts and displaying quotations.

As noted, web typography requires focus points. You provide the user with areas of focus by highlighting these things. These points and objects serve to split up a repetitive text.

Need help with your typography?

Typography is the key piece that ties the effective design together. There is, however, one last catch: you can follow all the above guides and still disregard some aspects of typography that are immediately noticeable by most visitors.

This is why extensive user testing is the ultimate part of any text design iterative process.

Find an array of internet users who can provide insight into your text’s readability. By incorporating real human input into your typography, you can be certain of the comfort and satisfaction your content brings to your visitors.

Not sure where to begin? Morphosis is not just a professional product design and development consultancy, we also like sharing our love of design and typography! We’d be delighted to help you in designing your website using typographic website designs. Contact us today for a free consultation with our design expert.