You may not consciously, but the impact of the font on a design that just feels ?right?, or equally just feels ?wrong? cannot be over-estimated.
Fonts have different feels and connotations ? to name one that gets a lot of bad press what would the impact of receiving a piece of collateral from a professional services business in comic-sans be?
The impact of your font choice goes beyond design as well – in a recent study two groups of people were given directions. One simply in Arial, and the other in a fancy (and harder to read) Brush font.
The people who received the simple font estimated it would take 8.2 minutes to follow the directions whereas the people who received the complex font estimated that it would take 15.1 minutes to complete the journey.
A simple font change made the directions seem so much more complicated people estimated they would take around 86% longer for follow.
If a different font can make that much difference to something as simple as directions how much effect could it have on how complex people perceive working with your business to be?
What are Your Options?
There are five main types of font, Serif, Slab-Serif, Monospace, Sans-Serif and misc.
- Sans-Serif fonts where the letters are straight and do not have ?hats? or serifs are more modern, professional and often easier to read on screens. A classic example would be Arial.
- Serif fonts where the letters have ?hats? or serifs can project a more traditional company image. A classic example is Times New Roman.
- Slab-Serif fonts are a more modern version of the Serif font where the ?hats? or serifs on the letters are the same width as the main body of the letter. Roboto Slab is a Slab Serif font.
- Monospace fonts are very old-fashioned typewriter style fonts which are seldom used online. Ironically, considering their origin, one place they are sometimes used is to represent code. Courier New is an example of a Monospace font.
- The other font options vary hugely, from blocky looks like impact to handwriting style fonts like Caveat, from curled copperplate fonts like Parisienne to stencil type fonts like Black Ops.
Keeping Things Simple
Using simple, clean fonts to project a simple, clear and professional feel and helps drive the perception that working with you will be easy. Call to action, forms, about us sections and lists of services should all be in clear, professional looking fonts.
Making Things Complicated
Whilst you want your customers and prospective customers to see working with you as simple, you may want to use fonts to help them to perceive the complexity of what you actually do.
This is where using a more unusual font like a Monospaced (for example courier new) or condensed font (like Teko) might help to highlight that.
Function First, then Design
Always remember, whatever fonts you chose, that however attractive a design may be, it is only good design if it supports, and enhances function. Your website is there to showcase your business, communicate information clearly to your customers and prospects, and likely, to encourage people to make an enquiry.
Using attractive but highly informal fonts like the blocky Impact or the heavily curled and stylised Parisienne can make your site look messy and hard to read. All these fonts have their places ? but a B2B website is rarely it.
Aesthetics do Matter
Function comes first but the attractiveness of a design has a significant impact on the attractiveness of your website and your content. Careful use of Serif or Slab-Serif fonts in headings or stand out items like quotes can make for a very attractive ? and still highly readable effect.