In case you don’t study your ‘Word-of-the-Day’ calendar that’s gathering dust on your back office desk, you may not know the meaning of this word and what it means to your online. Essentially the meaning is simply ‘organizing type to communicate.’ Sounds fairly basic, right? Well, this is actually quite an art and when it goes wrong it can completely mar the message and waste precious marketing dollars.
When considering typography for online stuff, you have to think about the fact that not all creative fonts are available for the web. There are a certain number of fonts, called web fonts, that will display on a website as standard. That’s to ensure that everyone’s experience on your website is the same. Have you ever seen an international site that comes up with crazy characters that don’t look they are from any language? Yeah, that’s because your computer can’t display the font that the website is trying to use. So, when designing web stuff, it’s safest to stay within the web font family.
That’s not to say you can get creative with headers and graphic areas of your website, but you can’t make your whole website one big image because Google won’t understand you and put you at the bottom of the results list, or worse – not even list you! The morale here is to use balance.
Before you dismiss this as your designers problem, there are a few things you need to know in order to audit your designers work. When considering typography, you’ll be faced with a few key questions. Aside from the general rule that you shouldn’t have more than 3 types of typography on your website, here they are and what you should consider.
Typography includes the selection of fonts, sizes, colors placement, orientation and even styling effects to communicate an overall message. Even subtle differences in any of the above listed elements can make a massive impact on the feel of the message. For example, the most obvious one would be size. The bigger the type, the more obvious it will be on the page as it takes up more room.
When working with the graphic part of a website, like the header, you can get creative with what fonts you use, and font is unfortunately one of the biggest things you need to monitor when working with your designer. This is where they can tend to ‘geek out’ on fun new fonts, but just be careful that they are still legible. Account for all sorts of people looking at your site, from those that are challenged in the eyesight department as well as those hipsters that will dig that cool new curvy tail. Think about how your nanna would see it as well as your teenage daughter (or someone else’s).
Beyond legible, it needs to appeal to the right audience. Not everyone will like that Chinese Takeout font, or the Wild West Saloon typeface, so make sure that the font you choose is speaking to your target audience and is consistent with your brand. Once you find the font that speaks ‘you’ keep it consistent.
Orientation changes the way your words are received. Not only does it draw attention to the word because it’s out of the standard left-to-right, straight line format, but it can help to elaborate a concept. For example, if you are talking about something global and you make your text arc around a globe. Or perhaps you make your words go out on an angle to give it a slight, but subtle twist. You can always change one word out of a complete phrase to draw attention to that word. There are loads of things you can do to make words more than simple text.