Fonts are one of those elements of websites that go under the radar and become invisible when done well, or are glaringly and painfully obvious when done wrong.
But it’s not just readability you should worry about, it’s also what your chosen font communicates about your brand and personality. When combined with the proper content, a good font can give a site a unique identity.
So here’s how you can choose the right font for your blog:
1) Choose serif or sans serif
The first thing you need to decide is whether you want a serif or sans-serif font. Here’s an image of two such fonts in case you’re unclear which is which:
Serif fonts are more old school and decorative compared to the more modern looking sans-serif fonts. However, they’re very popular in print works since the decorations and jaggy edges they have help guide the eye across the font, and thus increase reading speed.
Sans serif fonts on the other hand are more popular in online formats. This because the delicate serif decorations can be hard to render on low resolution screens or if there is a weird contrasting effect on the page.
Personality wise, sans serif is mostly the “default” setting in the online world, so you wouldn’t look out of place if you chose it.
However, serif fonts still have that association with books and other written, long form content. By using this font, it’s fair to assume that you will bring up some of those long-form associations.
2) Make sure you have enough and varied weights
For your main, paragraph font, the most formatting you’ll likely need is boldness, italics and underlines. However, for various reasons you might want to use even more varied font formats, for things such as quotes. In this case, it’s best if you choose a font that has enough weights that can properly convey this information.
3) A few basics in readability
Before branding and moods, the first things you should be concerned about when choosing a font is how readable it is.
Size is one very important aspect. If you’re on the younger side, you might be tempted to choose a font that looks well mostly at small sizes. Don’t do that. By now, it’s a consistent point in web design that making a font slightly bigger won’t hurt the usability of a website with the younger crowd, but it will hugely help with older users.
But it’s not just the font size that matters, it’s also the font color. Black on a white background works best, because our eyes are better able to perceive the contrast. White on black background, while hip and unusual, just doesn’t work from a readability perspective because the white doesn’t contrast as well with the black.
And even if you do choose black-on-white-background, make sure your font isn’t pure black. Pure black is a harsh color, and can very well cause eye strain when a user has to read it constantly.
For this reason, make sure you always adjust the to find the right balance for your readers.
4) Match title, subtitle and paragraph fonts
Using a single font type for everything on a page can work… but it will look very, very boring. For this reason, you can spice up the appearance of your website by matching together different font pairs to create an interesting and captivating typographical appearance.
This is quite similar to how professional cooks combine unusual flavors, such as sours and sweets to create a unique combination, that not only work, but are incredibly memorable.
In most cases, matching two fonts should be more than enough. One for the headlines and subtitles, with the other one being the paragraph font.
5) Use the Google open font library to find the right one for you
Fonts can be really expensive, to buy and depending on how many visitors you have, or what you are using a font for, the licensing fee for it can quickly add up to cost a hefty amount of money.
Fortunately, you can use the Google Font library to choose from over 600 totally free fonts, which come with a huge amount of weights. This should be more than enough to meet any and all requirements you may have.