Typography and Web Design
As I'm sure you all know, Steve Jobs recently passed away. During the intense press coverage that followed his death, I was reminded about the inspirational commencement speech he gave at Stanford University. In that speech he mentions dropping out of college and attending a calligraphy class. He said:
"I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying
the amount of space between different letter combinations,
about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful,
historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't
capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in
my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the
first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we
designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with
beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single
course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple
typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows
just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer
would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never
dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers
might not have the wonderful typography that they do."
This got me thinking about how the vast majority of information on the internet is still presented in a textual format, so typography must surely play a huge role in web design. It has even been suggested that 95% of web design is typography, and while I don't necessarily agree that it is such a large proportion, I don't think its value is fully appreciated.
What is Typography?
Typography is the design and use of fonts as a form of communication. Everything about how letters are spaced or shaped can influence how a reader processes the on-page information and how they interpret the tone a specific website is trying to achieve. There are two major groupings for fonts, Serif and San Serif. Serif fonts are embellished with additional strokes on each letter whereas Sans Serif fonts are without this additional creative flair. As a very basic example, a website publishing academic information might opt for a Sans Serif font because they are often interpreted to by the reader as being much more formal, and therefore the website might be judged to be more reliable or authoritative. A more informal site on the other hand, would generally tend to opt for a more embellished typeface that accurately portrays the creative and light-hearted nature of their business. Now, there is much more to typography than that, but it's just a basic example to illustrate how font variations can influence the tone of a site, and therefore the web design of that site.
There are other factors that influence online typography, such as screen resolution and how the various internet browsers render different fonts, but it the job of web development experts to adapt to this handicap and ensure that all webpages read well in the major browsers. Text on a webpage is essentially a user interface, and the way that text is sculpted can often influence how accessible a site is to its users. This really does have the potential to influence a number of search engine optimisation factors such as improving an organic link profile and winning many social shares. However, the greatest impact that typography can have on a website is on user experience and even brand building. An intelligent use of a font can help create your website an identity within a highly competitive industry, and this can establish a rapport or trust with regular site users and visitors finding a website for the first time.
Here at SEO Consult we employ a team of expert web developers and internet marketing strategist to ensure that the typeface on your website helps build your brand reputation and increases online visibility. If you have any further questions about any of our other search marketing services then please let us know.
This blog was written over 6 months ago and Internet Marketing and SEO is an always changing industry which means the information within this blog may be out of date. Use caution when using any methods or suggestions within it.