In previous posts, we discussed the importance of good writing when it comes to building a website.  This time, we will focus on how writing appears on the web page; specifically, we will talk about the basics of good typography.

Readable Fonts

In terms of readability, it is better to consider first what types of fonts you should avoid.  Obviously, the general rule is to avoid fonts that are difficult to read.  These include fonts that fall under the blackletter, novelty, or script categories.  Instead, choose fonts that are simple and easy on the eyes.  Unless you are trying to make a statement with a hard-to-read font, it is always wise to stick to “readable” and “scannable” fonts.

Adequate Line Spacing

Line spacing is considered as one of the keys to creating an effective reading experience.  There is no particular “formula” for this, but the following guidelines are a good start: (a) For websites viewed on personal computers, set the line spacing to around 125% of the text size; (b) For websites viewed on mobile devices, set the line spacing to around 150% of the text size; and (c)  Utilize “loose” paragraph spacing to help make paragraphs easier to read.

Aside from these guidelines, you should also consider the following factors in determining line spacing: text size, lettering style, amount of text, and screen width.  Meanwhile, most designers agree that the optimum amount of characters per line is between 45-60 characters.  This figure is reduced to about one half when it comes to the number of characters per line for mobile devices.

Big and Round Letters

Fonts that are condensed or tightly packed are extremely hard to read!  Go for fonts that feature big, round, and wide letters, as these are easier to differentiate from one another.  Likewise, fonts that have bigger “bowls” inside them (i.e. the inside of the letters o, b, d, p, q, etc.) are also easier read than fonts that have smaller “bowls.”

Uniform Stroke Widths

Stroke width refers to the thickness of the strokes in a letter, including straight lines and curves.  Avoid very thin strokes because they can be hard to read; similarly, avoid extremely thick strokes as well.  Letters made using combinations of overly thick and thin strokes are not easy on the eye, either. And so, the best thing to do would be to use fonts that have uniform stroke widths.

Limited Font Styles

When it comes to website typography, the general rule is to limit your font styles to just two.  Using more than two font styles would make reading very difficult.  Simply pick two font styles – make sure that they look good together – and use them consistently in your webpages.

Ultimately, good typography is all about simplicity, clarity, and readability.  By keeping in mind the guidelines presented in this article, you can ensure that your readers would have a meaningful online experience when they visit your website.