Most web and graphic designers pay far less attention towards typography than indulging into page graphics and CSS effects. But one must understand the fact that it is the text of the page that carries the information that the website wants to spread and so it should have much more importance. And the reason behind giving less importance to typography lies more in the lack of knowledge on the subject than the lack of interest in it.

There is more to typography than knowing the names of a few font families, it also includes serif/sans-serif typefaces, kerning, leading and other ideas. Today we will try to introduce some of the basic knowledge of digital type to the designers who are interested in the topic.

Basic Terminology

Knowing the key terms of typography can be helpful in clearing things up for you. Let us first define what font and typeface is. Font is described as a set of characters which make up one font face. The most common being Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Verdana and Georgia.

The other important definition is font styles which categorize the fonts into different families or groups. These include serif, san-serif, script, monospaced and a few others. Typefaces can also be categorized by styles such as bold text, italicized text etc.

One of the most important things that a designer has to consider is which styles of fonts to use. The variation between installed fonts in Windows and Mac environments makes it difficult for the styles to be shared via the internet. But Google Web Fonts offers a very helpful solution to this problem and many of the designers have adopted it into their designs.

The other important terms are weight and kerning. You manipulate these through CSS properties applied to headings, sub headings and paragraphs and other text elements. Through changing weight style you can make a letter more bolder and through kerning you can add or remove the extra space between letter symbols.

Trying Out Something New

Repetition can take the fun out of anything and fonts are no exception so there is always a need for the new fonts on the web. Using the same old Arial and Times New Roman fonts can get a little boring and even make your pages stale. Of course you can give a little different look by changing the colours and putting some effects in the background but then you may be forgetting the basic idea behind the site which is providing the information to the viewer as the paragraph font will be most readable in black/dark grey colour.

With the many opportunities provided by the CSS for the customization of your text and with the Google’s Web Fonts which expands the library of the possible font families that can be used in a webpage, now a designer has a lot more options for personalization of fonts.

If you are designing a website for a brand then it will be a wise idea to match the headings with the site theme which may include background icons, colour schemes, underlines or in-text graphics.

Creating Page Structure Through Typography

Typography can help you in creating a liner map of your page design. Proper paragraph alignment and if your users are skimming for hyperlinks then ensuring that they stand out and be easily clickable can make the user experience that much more fulfilling.

Hyperlinks are important and they are important not only in paragraphs but also in heading, sidebar and list content sewn throughout your pages. Most of the time you will be working within the same font family so the distinguishing factors would include background colours or rounded corners within hyperlink text.

Typography Effects Reader’s Mood

If you are not well versed in typography or you are not well connected with the internet then it will be easy for you to overlook the fact that each font effects the reader’s mood in a different way. For example using serif fonts can give the readers a feel of professionalism and reputable information, this is the reason that most of the news websites use it for their text.

For smaller blogs you may enjoy large paragraph text with a greater line-height so readers may skim and clip out portions of your blog posts.

Choosing the Right Font Family

Different font families are useful for different purposes. While Arial and Georgia may be your main choice for text of your website they are by no means the right choice for the logo design. If you are a Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator user then you require much more precision and creativity.

There are thousands of free fonts out on the web but finding one that can meet your needs is difficult. You should always choose a typeface that will fit within the mood of your website.

Conclusion

I have tried to share with you guys some simple but useful knowledge about typography. If you want to become a successful designer then i recommend that you mess around with Google’s Font database.

But this is just the tip of the ice berg and digital writing is a deep topic that requires a lot more study for becoming an expert so do search over the web for helpful typographic resources.