Web design, both as a business and as an art form consists of innumerable elements of varying importance, each contributing to the whole – the creation of a website that is well-organized, easily navigated, simple to use, pleasant to look at and correspondent with its purpose. The choice of fonts belongs to a more advanced part of web design, for there are not that many people who are capable of judging the comparative highs and lows of this or that font founding their opinion on something more substantial that just “I really like the way it looks”. There is much more to a font than simply its “look”. Some fonts are easier to read, some, no matter how pretty they are at a first glance, are real sores for the eye if you are going to see them regularly. Different fonts play different roles: the one that looks perfectly in a header will be atrocious when used in a menu and vice versa.
Of course, professional web-design studios often use their own fonts, specially created in accordance with the studio’s understanding of perfect readability, proportions, boldness and other characteristics. The creation of one’s own font is, however, an extremely difficult and crucial task the results of which may prove to be critical for any design it is used in – even if one doesn’t feel that something is amiss immediately, a wrong font in a wrong place will have its toll eventually. The less ambitious and experienced designers will do well to use the fonts created by others before trying their hand in such an endeavor.
Before using funny fonts in your design, however, ask yourself whether your site really needs them. A lot of designers strongly suggest against using any exotic fonts that may attract more attention than the contents of the web page and even stronger – against those that may make a visitor wonder what this or that letter is.
Unusual fonts can be roughly divided into two groups: the ones that are made with some theme or subject in mind and those that are simply somewhat quirky, without any subtext. If you have a specific audience in mind, you may do well with a font related to them. For example, if you are making a website for children or their parents and you want to make your headers and menus look endearing, choose children-related fonts, something like Pencilled, Milo’s Grade Five or Square Kids. If you are running a designer or any other kind of creative resource, something art-oriented will be just fine, for example, Blockography, Sketch Block or Angel Tears. The list of analogies may go indefinitely.
The second group, the fonts that have no thematic ties, are a bit more difficult to use – all in all, you may use them whenever you feel it may be justified. There are different trends in design that change from time to time, which may suggest the use of certain types of fonts irrespectively of the site’s contents. For example, there is a trend for “hand-written” fonts, like FFF Tusj and Sketch Rockwell that look rather nice and natural in a wide variety of designs. Typewriter fonts (My Underwood, Rough Typewriter) may be a good idea if you want to create mid 20th-century feel; Gothic ones (Kingthings Spikeless, Blackletter) always look nice, at least for those who are used to reading them.
All in all, font is a powerful tool no web designer can afford to overlook. It, however, may turn to be a double-edged weapon – when used inappropriately or carelessly it may just as well hurt the one who wields it.Tags: design fonts, fonts, kid fonts, photoshop fonts