How to choose your fonts?
What is the common point between (so to speak) all the textual contents present on the Internet? Whether they were written for SEO purposes, to present products attractively on a site, to inform Internet users about a topical subject… what connects them is their objective: to be read! While this may seem elementary, the issue is much more complex than one might think. Because in order to be read, your content must be readable, preferably by as many people as possible. Of course, grammar has its role to play, but it is to the purely visual aspect that we are referring here: your font. If you've never really paid attention to this "detail", this article is for you!
A font, What is that ?
La font, it is, in a way, the “look” of the words that make up your text, their form, if you prefer. Whether you're reading a novel, a website, a newspaper article, a billboard, the ingredients on a food packaging, a company logo… the text in question is visually harmonized in a certain way. This appearance concerns letters, but also numbers, symbols, punctuation, and all the other characters that can be used. The typefaces are grouped by families and can be extremely different from each other. So, while some are considered professional, others can be rather fun, literary, etc. Some have also acquired an extraordinarily negative reputation, such as the much-praised Comic Sans. Click here to know more on the history of writing fonts.
How are the different writing fonts ?
As we mentioned, the writing fonts are organized according to several categories, 5, to be exact:
- Serif fonts, which feature serifs;
- Sans-serif, sans serif fonts, also called lineal;
- Monospaced fonts, where all characters are exactly the same width;
- Cursive, or script, fonts that mimic handwriting;
- Decorative or special fonts.
Font and inclusive writing: an impossible marriage?
Where things get complicated is choosing a font, at least if you want your text to be readable by as many people as possible. Indeed, it is unfortunately not a matter of preference. Until recently, fonts were very much selected based on “fashion”, almost always favoring serif fonts for print and sans serif typefaces for digital. Only here it is: not all people are equal when it comes to reading and, more particularly, when it comes to the way in which a font can simplify or, on the contrary, complicate their task.
Since the advent ofinclusive writing, in particular, it is fashionable to show more consideration. The idea is to ensure that our communication habits, whether oral or written, do not risk being a source of exclusion. While egalitarian writing is gradually entering mores, the accessibility of typography is also the subject of questioning.
Fortunately, there are now fonts that can accommodate the needs of people with dyslexia or who, for whatever reason, may struggle to decipher text on the web.
To boost your visibility, choose an inclusive font
There are writing fonts specially developed to offer optimal readability to as many people as possible. However, you might not find them ideal for the aesthetics of your website, for example. A good rule is rather to avoid "extravagant" fonts, with flourishes that could interfere with reading, and to favor simple typos, preferably sans serif.
To do well, limit yourself to two or three different fonts on your entire site, maximum. You will not take the risk of overloading your pages. Feel free to use the Google Fonts site to download modern fonts, which you can select depending on the type of text and their compatibility with the desired size.
Typography: the art and the way
La font must allow the body text to be as pleasant to read as possible. To do this, choose a size between 14 and 20 px for the desktop version of your site. For a tablet version, the ideal remains 13 to 19 px, and for a mobile version, 12 to 16 px.
Do not neglect the line spacing either, which is used to ventilate your text for better reading comfort. Choose line spacing between 100% and 150% of your font size. Too much space would be as bad as not enough!
You will also have to choose whether or not to justify your text. In this case, justification is often preferred because it helps give the text a “cleaner” look. Yet such a layout requires the eye to work harder to find the beginning of each line and compensate for the effect of uneven spaces within the text.
If you want more information on the subject, consult the guidelines for the accessibility of websites (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in English) proposed by the W3C, the international body that standardizes the web.
Essential when creating any content for the web, the choice of font has more ramifications than one might think. The accessibility of your content is as important as the information it highlights and, as such, deserves your full consideration.