How to choose the best fonts for your website

8 min read
Aman Jha

One of the most difficult aspects of developing a website is blending varied visual aspects into one logical, concise and well-balanced unity. The arrangement and style of text on your page will play a huge part in your overall success, so you’ll need to carefully consider how to choose the best fonts for your website.

But choosing the right font for your site is not always a simple task.

Designing a website is a demanding process that takes a lot of effort, even for most design professionals.

If you need help getting started, this handy guide is here to help you select the best fonts for your website — with a few essential elements to keep in mind. Let's get started.

6 tips for choosing the best fonts for your website

The search for fonts can be overwhelming as there are so many to choose from, but the following tips will help you narrow down the ones that suit your site best.

1. Find your inspiration

The fonts you choose must be consistent with your brand's tone. It's important to think through the goals of your website's design and your user demographics before launching.

Be sure your typeface matches the overall message you're trying to send to your site visitors.

booklet with artistic fonts next to laptop showing design mockup

To get ideas for your own project, look at other websites that cater to a similar type of person. You may design a mood board or browse Pinterest to get some inspiration.

2. Know basic typography

Typography accounts for 95% of website design, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the basic terms. Here are three types of fonts to keep in mind as you search:

  • Primary font: The primary font will be the most prominent font on your website. It is used for the most important elements, such as headlines. Ensure this font matches your brand’s identity and allow yourself to be a bit more imaginative or bold with your choices.
  • Secondary font: The bulk of your material will be written in a secondary font of your choosing. It should be clear and easy to read, since many articles or descriptions will consist of this font.
  • Accent font: A navigation menu or CTA button will almost always use an accent typeface. Ideally it should be bold enough to draw attention and communicate vital information, but subtle enough not to distract or conflict with any primary and secondary typefaces.

Each font has its own individual personality — some fonts seem more serious, and others may appear more sophisticated. You might also find some that have a whimsical or spontaneous vibe.

Remember to keep your website's readers in mind while choosing a typeface.

For example, a clothing or food website may use a trendy or casual typeface, whereas academic or finance websites may use a more serious font. The best fonts for your website will depend on the style and tone of your brand.

3. Match fonts to your website theme

In order for your web design to appear its best, your font choice ought to reflect your brand's personality. Are you a conventional business or do you consider yourself as minimalist and contemporary?

If you consider your brand to be fun and quirky, you might consider a retro, classic or edgy font for your website.

Think of a vintage clothing boutique with a contemporary feel. You might use an old-school typeface for the headers, with an established sans-serif typeface for the body content.

Another idea would be to add an easy-to-read sans-serif like Open Sans and pair it with a vintage-style font like Arvo for the headings. This will offer you a style that is both classic and cutting-edge. Plus, it will go well with your retro-chic company image.

4. Check the loading time of the font

Slow websites are a thing of the past. In today's world, no one can compromise with speed. For this reason, you should avoid using a typeface that takes an excessive amount of time to load.

Try not to use a lot of typefaces at once, since this can slow down loading time. A fast website enhances your user experience and raises your website’s search engine rankings.

5. Avoid fonts that are trendy

As you search for the best fonts for your website, be mindful not to use the ones everyone else is using.

Fonts that can withstand the test of time are what you are looking for.

When developing a logo, for example, it's a good idea to select something that isn't too specific or rooted to the times. If you don't want your design to go out of style, choose fonts that are well-known and common.

The font you choose must also be readable on mobile screens, so avoid using cursive typefaces. They may look gorgeous on their own but are tough to read on smaller screens.

Additional elements that affect a font's visual appearance include style changes such as bold, italic or underlining. Using these styles in excess may have an overpowering impact and distract from your message — moderation is key.

6. Blend your font combinations

It is likely you may require more than one typeface when choosing the best fonts for your website. Here are a few general rules to blend your fonts more smoothly:

  • Refrain from using more than three typefaces in a single design — too many typefaces might make it difficult to read.
  • Be sure the typefaces you use complement or contrast one another without being too excessive.
  • Always establish a hierarchy among the fonts you choose (primary, secondary, accent)
  • Avoid using the same font throughout your entire website, as this can be less exciting for readers.

Overall, the goal is to establish visual harmony and balance without going over the top.

Why choosing the best fonts for your website matters

Website aesthetics, functionality and usability are all things web designers have to take into account in their design strategy. This is why it’s important to play close attention to the text used in website navigation, layout and calls to action (CTAs).

For example, designs that use easy-to-read typefaces and fonts can help improve conversion rates significantly. A case study by Click Laboratory showed that small improvements to their website font resulted in a 133% boost in form conversion rates. The lesson here is simple:

Don't underestimate the influence of a good font.

Improving your site’s readability with font is a small but mighty step toward online success, so let’s take a look at some ways you can achieve this.

Factors that impact readability

Yes, photos and illustrations attract the eye. But site visitors must be able to read the words on a web page to decide if it contains what they’re looking for. The easier your website is to read, the better for everyone.

Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Space between two paragraphs: Slightly increase your paragraph spacing for even better readability.
  • Font size: The size of the font reflects the significance of a section you want to call out and helps split the text into bite-size portions. Using serif and sans serif fonts in various sizes is a safe mix, since many people find the uniqueness of these typefaces appealing.
  • Alignment of text: If the line length of text is too large and the margins are too narrow, readers may get discouraged. The Golden Rule recommends a maximum of 50-75 characters per line, according to UX research from Baymard Institute.
  • Text background: The color of the font should stand out against the backdrop. Reading might be difficult if the contrast is too low or too high. Black text on a white background is the most readable combination.
  • Bold, underlined and italic: These effects should be used cautiously. The usage of underlining on web pages is quite unusual. Using bold font helps draw attention to the objects and makes them stand out more. If you're going to use foreign language terms or quotations, make use of italics.

Final verdict

When deciding on the best fonts for your website, consider your intended audience — you might even check the fonts used on other websites they go to often. Decide the number of typefaces you will use and then begin searching the web for feasible font combinations. There are many options, so you're sure to discover something that suits your needs.

A decent web typeface makes your website look well-designed and professional.

You can achieve this lovely balance by utilizing a clean, simple-to-read font for body text with styled headers. This gives your website an innovative and well-designed vibe. You can also use contrasting components to make your website both elegant and attractive. In this case, try using a bit of dark and light font to create a balanced website.

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