Choice of fonts or typefaces - what do you fancy?

Todays websites are becoming more and more graphical, with less and less text. Or makes for more easy reading than before. One reason being that it's possible from a design perspective, screens have much higher resolution which makes graphics look good, another that if you put too much text up, or the paragraph length and density is too heavy, there's a real chance skimming is the best you'll get from your viewers or visitors. 

On the other hand, too much graphics, or pictograms and too little, too widespread information may actually work to your disadvantage as well. It's hard to say, people perceive information density differently. And thank God for that! Then of course there's the matter of what kind of typeface(s) you are using. And how the typefaces are being rendered in different browsers or on different devices. This can be a real pain when you design stuff and want the result to look identical in different media.

Lastly of course, your own personal preferences or what you fancy. So what shall it be and what are your preferences, Serif or Sans Serif? A fusion of both or a hybrid approach? Something else altogether?

If you mix, do it with style

Indeed, yet it is a personal thing, you like what you like. But of course, what kind of typeface your potential client or site owner digs might be another matter. Primarily you'd like to balance things so that the written material is easy to read, appears harmonious on a page. Regardless of preferences balance is key. This is where print and web/screen perception is different, and of course, not only that but typeface size, line space, colors also plays an essential part in how the written word is perceived.

Sometimes just minding line and character space, even a tiny little bit, can completely change how a typeface appears. Make the less reader friendly typeface a lot more reader friendly. 

And of course, as different paper reflects prints differently, so does screens and browsers. With regards to the latter, different browsers uses different techniques and "engines" to render typefaces. I never cease being surprised over the extent of variations, all depending on what you are using. Sometimes it's downright annoying how different things might look in different browsers.

But there are some fonts that, despite diversity of technologies in use, does look almost identical. 

It is really a delicate balance, but if you decide to mix various typefaces and crisscross-cross between Serif and Sans Serif types, do it with style! Find a combination that works, and think about or mind the whole picture. Run it by others and you may get some valuable feedback. I've seen some, IMHO pretty bad examples on how things can look and many times wondered, did those guys who designed this, really consider how far apart it seems? This does apply to minor as well as major web sites. 

The easy way - viewing/importing Google fonts

Almost everyone today use online font resources and that opens up a huge number of possibilities. It is very common to load font types and weight via your website's style sheet, and then define how it is going to be rendered. Using this feature means you have a lot to choose from, fortunately there are some very good online resources to simplify the task of finding your font, or fonts. I recommend you check out this Google website, here you can home in on not only the typeface, but how you would like it to appear. And easily compare how the typefaces look together. 

Finally, for those less Stylesheet or web design savvy, the site provides you with the option of automatically generating the reference or loading link you need for your website, you can choose between different ones. 

The last thing that remains is to determine the shade or color you'd like to use. Like with the typeface there certainly is no one right answer here either! What I normally find is that, with today's increasingly sharp screens, with ditto contrast, quite often boosted beyond reason, sometimes it makes sense to tone things down a bit. So for instance don't use pure black, find a tone that is slightly dampened, or more in direction of the dark gray. Likewise, if you are using dark or black background it makes sense to do the same and tone down the white. Ignoring this might make people tired of reading and you lose their attention. 

A simple solution - Open Sans

Well I should have said, A... simple solution, for there are many, simple solutions. After several tests over time with various typefaces, shades and not the least, browsers and media, it became evident that Open Sans was one of the better choices. One of the fonts that actually look pretty much the same regardless of browsers. I use it across this site. But there are many others equally good and the Google font tools will give you all you need to test things before making a decision.

When you do, take the time to consider how your choice, or choices, look and feel on your site and in the given context. These choices can and will also contribute to how the whole balance of your website float across to visitors. Finally, mind letter and line spacing as well as typeface color!