Typography is a very key component when it comes to web design. It plays an important role in the conveyance of the message and has a huge impact on your website including user experience, readability, perceived article length and mood among others.
With different types of typography available, choosing the right one will definitely play an important role in improving the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. As a web designer, it is always important to understand various principles of typography in order to create a design that is pleasing, one that will clearly and successfully portray the mood and the vision of the website. The typography you choose works with the layout, color and grid to create a balanced design.
Before discussing the different typography types, it would be good to understand that there is a major difference between typefaces and fonts. This is despite the fact that many people use these two words interchangeably. For beginners, typeface refers to a group of typographical characters and symbols. It includes numbers, letters and any other characters used to convey words on the screen or paper. On the other hand, font is used to describe a complete set of character within a typeface, often of a specific style and size.
Serifs vs. Sans Serifs
First of all, it will be important to understand the terms sans serif and serif even before we go ahead and identify type categories. Serifs are letters characterized by small horizontal stroke (could be large at times) at the end while sans serifs do not have the additional stroke. The two types are normally broken down into different categories with sans serifs being the simplest to identify. When looking at different types of typography, you will come across four major categories which are used to describe serifs and these are old style, transitional, modern and slab or square. Sans serifs are commonly used in digital designs while serif fonts are the standard when it comes to print publishing. In normal cases, sans serifs are more preferred in online designs over serifs since the alternating thin and thick strokes are hard to portray well on the screens.
Black letter or old English
This category is actually the oldest but also considered as the style that is most recognizable. Each letter has many sophisticated and broken strokes, and this is what distinguishes it from others. The old English typefaces are normally difficult to use and are normally reserved for limited applications featuring in one or two words only. However, it can be a great type to create a feeling of history or age since it is very elaborate but wouldn’t match well with projects that are trying to create a contemporary or modernized feel.
Old Style Serifs
These typefaces have some characteristics of the old English typefaces. The style of the different serifs is rather small but the form of letters is normally a bit round with some even strokes that have little or no distinction between thin and thick strokes. These fonts normally work well when used in digital design and on larger point sizes of 18 and above. Designers can use these different types of typography to create a feeling of formality and sense of credibility during the design projects.
Modern serifs are normally characterized by uniquely contrasting thin and thick letter strokes. These are commonly used by web designers but not on big words and headers since the strokes can me a source of problem to the eyes where there are many colour combinations. Designers can use modern serifs to create a feel of authority.
These serifs feature prominently in the modern digital projects especially Times New Roman which is used in many applications including Microsoft Word. This type of typography normally combines the properties of both the modern and old style serifs to create rounded typefaces that have strokes that vary in widths. Transitional serifs can use used in many applications since they are quite readable but should be used carefully especially when dealing with small-sized digital projects.
Other font types
There are also other different types of typography such as slab or square serif, novelty, and cursive or script.
Due to the importance of typography in design, it is always important to choose the style appropriately since different font spacing and sizes will work differently across the devices. This will help create an efficient user experience while helping you communicate effectively. When typography is done properly, communication becomes more effective and clearer. Always remember that readability is an important aspect of any successful design and therefore ought to be addressed right from the beginning.