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How to Put Typography to Its Best Use



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Typography is an important factor that has a lot to contribute in terms of enhancing the usability of your website. But before we begin, we should have a comprehensive idea about what typography really is. Wikipedia defines typography as a technique of arranging type for making language visible. The effectiveness of typography is dependent on the following factors:

1.    Typefaces: denotes the set of characters having the same design features.
2.    Point size: it is unit used to measure font size.
3.    Length of line: width of the page taken by a line
4.    Leading: the gap between a line of text and the baseline of the next line
5.    Tracking : indicates the space between groups of letters
6.    Kerning:  suggests space between pairs of letters.

Typography should occupy an important place in the list of a web designer’s agenda. The typography of your site might affect the popularity of your site:


Explaining legibility and readability:

A text is legible when each and every character is clearly distinguishable from the other characters. A web designer should choose a typeface wisely to be suitable for its use and size. A legible text should be an amalgamation of upper and lower cases and should not be italicized.
On the other hand, the readability of the text means the ability to convey meaning conspicuously. Readability is compromised if word spacing, letter spacing and the heading is too loose or too tight. But it can be increased by putting rational space between two lines which also distinguishes one line from the other.


Use of proper color:

Another brain-storming task for the web designers is deciding the perfect color contrast of the website. For a soothing and user-friendly viewing experience, the text color has to be the complete contrast of the color used in the background. Positive images (black on white) work better than the negative images (white on black).


Maintain a balance between CSS and typography:


As a web designer, you might feel tempted to give free play to your imagination and go on creating unique design for every page of your website. But be deterred from doing it because if you use different typographical features on different pages, you will end up confusing your visitor. Keep the all over typography of your site consistent and ensure that your CSS is rock solid.


Do away with center text:


One of the design fads that has earned some popularity with amateur web designers is the center text that serves to bring down the readability of your site’s content. As we are used to read the lines from left to the right, so we feel comfortable with text that is justified at left. Center texts also distort your design setting when displayed on smaller devices.


Pay special attention to symbols:

Web design and word processing software are born enemies. That is why wed designing techniques and symbols of word processing software do not get along and these symbols tend to get modified once they are transferred to the word documents. For example, word automatically changes semi-circle quotes to straight quotation marks. The same problem is encountered in case of accents signs when some European language is concerned. So it is necessary to pay attention to such things.


Reconsider the font size:

Generally we keep the size of our font around 10 point but it should be remembered that this font size may not go down well with everyone, especially with children who are fond of larger font. Sometimes viewers try to change the font size, making the text and design to change themselves. If changing the font size creates problem, then there is a possibility that the visitors will turn away. So choose the font size wisely in order to make it possible for your visitors to read all the contents and links.


Tussle between Serif and Sans- serif fonts:

Serif fonts provide smooth and easy reading experience by leading our eye from one letter to the next, but it goes well only with high resolution materials. In case of applying it to the low resolutions, it runs the risk of compromising clarity and letters become smudged. Rather it would be better to go for Sans-serif fonts, as the space between letters and font increases the readability of the content. If you are having hard time choosing the right font for your website, the best option is to stick to Verdana, as it is specially designed for computer screens.


Put your typography to test:

After taking all such things into consideration, now it is time to take a test of your typography. First take a test if the text is legible and readable. If you find it difficult to read, your visitors will also feel the same. Then check the length of the lines to find out if it is affecting the readability of the text. Then come to spacing and start with leading and move to tracking and kerning.


Make sure to check how the spacing between lines and between words is affecting the appearance of your text. Finally pay attention to the alignment of the text and remember that left-aligned text is more suitable for an easy-reading experience. If you are feeling jittery to rely upon your judgment seek a second opinion and ask others to evaluate the overall appearance of your text.

In the grand process of designing a website, it is natural to overlook the issue of typography and many designers consider it a redundant element. But that does not reduce its importance, so before starting your next designing venture, it will be profitable for you to keep the aforementioned points in mind.

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Sudeep Banerjee

Written by

Sudeep Banerjee is the Founder & President of B3NET Inc., the leading Orange County Web Development firm, since 1999 in California. He is a forward thinking leader with expertise in Digital Marketing, Web Design and Mobile Application Development and Amazon Sales Consulting. He is an author, speaker and a consultant with 28 years of experience. He loves to play Basketball and Golf.