For those who are less affiliated with the world of web design, typography might in essence be nothing more than plain font – at least for the bigger part of the general population these two words have practically the same meaning.
However, even for web designers, it is sometimes very difficult to figure out how to approach typography in order to enhance the design. However, it is a very important part of the future on the web, so those designers who learn to use digital typography to their advantage will have the most success.
And even though we are seeing the evolution of web design, which is now becoming so image-centred, typography still holds its own as a way to engage your audience uniquely.
Typography and Web Design
The first thing that should be understood about typography is that it goes way beyond just conveying a message through the words on your website – the interaction between a visitor and a website begins at the moment when he glances at the website without even reading the content.
A certain immediate mood is set that determines countless conscious and subconscious predispositions that the visitor now has towards your message. So you better make that first glance count.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the content isn’t important – after all, the web still mostly consists of the written word, so combining content with a well-chosen font is what generates the best results.
Typography’s Role in Branding
It has now become not only a common practice, but an absolute must for any of the top-tier companies to spend huge amounts of money in shaping their public image – having a unique voice and a unique relationship with the consumer is now considered one of the pillars to success.
And when it comes to branding yourself on a website, typography is as important as anything else – if you want proof, you don’t need to look any further than the website of, let’s say, Apple. The minimal design does not tell the full story of the countless hours that were spent until the perfect blend of design and typography was found.
So as a designer, you should strive to create the perfect balance between the clients’ voice, their logo, the design and the type. And only when you have a clear understanding of each will that become possible.
Typography Makes Content Attractive
Now of course there will be glorious designs with perfectly chosen fonts with low-quality content – this is the inevitable nature of the web. But at the same time, if you have content of similar quality on two different websites, the one with the better chosen font will do a much better job at getting through the message.
Actually, a great font chosen by graphic designers can make even average content do an above average job.
The Future of Responsive Typography
One of the biggest hopes of those dealing with typography has been a replacement for the arduous job of manually developing hinting instructions – and while there’s still no tangible substitute for it in the future, there might still be hope.
Macro-hinting should supposedly allow modifying the type in accordance to multiple variables beyond just its size. The pre-set instructions by the web designers could allow the modifications to happen automatically, with minor tweaks according to the requirements of the typographer.
Respecting the White Space
Another area where typography can once again prove its importance is proper text formatting to suit different devices. Today it is just as important to take the time to scale type accordingly to fit to smartphones, which because of their odd screen size often cause a lot of problems.
So designers should take the time to maintain the proper hierarchy of type on the website and to make sure the headline and text do not end up cluttered up and out of proportion.
For those who have dealt with the design, it’s a well-known fact that typography is much more than just font being thrown on a text without much thought. It can actually become the crucial element that makes a website what it is. Typography also plays a vital role in branding, as well as making the content on a website seem more attractive. And while it’s not clear what the future of typography holds, but for now the important focus should go on making sure that a type is properly laid out and functioning on different devices and platforms.