The role of typography in web design
Typography is the art of arranging letters and text in a way that makes the copy legible, clear, and visually appealing to the reader.
Typography and the skill of picking the right fonts are thus essential elements of web design and branding. Different fonts can affect the website's usability, readability, and even the website's overall aesthetics. Picking the right font will thus lead to a better user experience and your Webflow page success.
To help you understand the effect of typography on your page better, let's dive a bit deeper.
Firstly, typography affects the website's usability. Your website font can either make or break the user's experience on your page. If the font size is too small, the visitor will struggle to read the content. Picking a very decorative font can be hard to read, frustrating the visitors and making them bounce off your page.
Next, your chosen font will affect the website's readability. The right typography can make it easier for users to understand the content on the website. A well-chosen font can make the text stand out and be more accessible to the user.
Lastly, your font choice is also essential in branding because it helps to convey the brand's personality and values. The font should reflect and represent your brand's character. For instance, a fine dining restaurant will use an elegant or romantic font. If you design a website for a corporate company, your font must evoke trust and credibility.
What are the different font categories?
Before getting into font categories, you must first understand the difference between typefaces and fonts. A typeface is a collection of characters sharing a similar style. It includes all the variations of a particular design, such as different weights, styles, and sizes. A font, on the other hand, refers to a specific typeface. It is a file that contains a set of characters in a particular size and style. Typeface is an overall design, and a font is a specific version of that design.
There are different types and categories of fonts that can help you improve the website's appearance and also improve the user experience. Some fonts are more subtle and gentle, while others evoke confidence and draw all the attention. Some fonts are ideal for headers, while others are ideal for long-form content. To create a strong brand identity, you must understand how to pick the right fonts that match the website's purpose and audience.
In the next chapter, we will discuss seven font categories you can consider when building your Webflow page.
1 Sans serif fonts
Sans serif fonts refer to a modern and clean font style with no serifs or decorative flourishes on the ends of the letters. Sans-serif letters first appeared in printed media in 1805. Their clear and simple design made them popular in advertising for printed media. Today, they are popular in web design, especially for creating headings, subheadings, and other larger text elements that need to stand out.
Examples of sans serif fonts:
- Proxima Nova
- Public Sans
- Open Sans
- Laro Soft
2 Serif fonts
Serif fonts have decorative flourishes on the ends of the letters, giving them a more traditional and classic look. You can recognize serif font by noticing small strokes or extensions at the end of its longer strokes.
With their roots in ancient Roman square capitals, serif fonts are great for longer bodies of text and printed materials like books and newspapers. Serif fonts evoke a professional and formal feel, making them a great choice for the body or header text of a web page.
Examples of serif fonts:
- Times New Roman
- Courier New
3 Cursive fonts
Cursive is an old style of handwriting designed in the 17th century. Before typewriters, cursive was the most common writing method for professionals creating formal documents and letters. Cursive was created to make handwriting quicker and more aesthetic. By moving from handwriting to the web, cursive fonts retained their original design principles.
Cursive fonts are stylized with a handwritten feel, featuring connected letters with a flowing appearance. They are great for adding a personal touch to designs and can be used for headings, quotes, or other decorative elements.
Examples of cursive fonts:
- Aesthetic Notes
- Billie Sight
4 Number fonts
Numbers play a key role in your website copy and often back up your statements with validation or draw attention to particular content. They are used for data visualization like pricing tables, infographics, and special offers and can play a major role in your website's success.
Aesthetically displaying numbers is thus part of every effective web design strategy. To help us achieve this, most companies used a specific numbers font. Numbers fonts interestingly help showcase numbers and help them stand out where it matters most.
Examples of number fonts:
- Crimson Text
- Roboto Condensed
- Valera Round
- Fjalla One
5 Outline fonts
Outline fonts feature letters with a hollow center, providing a unique and interesting visual effect. According to the Collins dictionary, outline fonts can be scaled up or down while retaining the original shape.
Outline fonts can be a great choice for headings, subheadings, or other decorative elements to add a unique look to your Webflow page. They are great for modern designs and can be paired with different fonts to create a dynamic and engaging composition.
Examples of outline fonts:
- Portico Outline
- Burford Outline
- Gibson Outline
- Visia Duo
- Visage Outline
6 Vintage fonts
Vintage fonts are the way to go when you want to create a nostalgic feeling and retro look on your Webflow page. They are designed to mimic older printing styles, with worn and weathered textures that add a sense of nostalgia and timelessness to a design.
Examples of vintage fonts:
- Rumble Brave Vintage Fonts.
- Java Heritages + Extras.
- The Beardy.
- Tropiline Font Family.
7 Modern fonts
Modern fonts are based on simple geometric lines and patterns and have a slightly futuristic edge. They break with classical and traditional styles and perfectly fit with contemporary designs. Modern fonts are often paired with sans-serif fonts to create a dynamic and engaging design.
Examples of modern fonts:
- Ta Modern Times
Top 12 Fonts for Webflow sites
To start our list, we can’t go past the Arial font. Arial is a sans serif typeface designed in 1982, by Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders, for Monotype Typography. Today, Arial is one of the most widely used fonts, with over 600k websites currently using it.
Over time Arial grew in popularity due to being a Microsoft core font and because it was available for most regular computer users. As computer usage increased, so did the use of Arial font.
Created by graphic designer Julieta Ulanovsky, Montserrat is a staple among designers and is used on over 15 million websites. Juliet found inspiration to create this font from her historic Buenos Aires neighborhood of the same name. Having a traditional and classic feel, Montserrat is a popular choice among designers that want to create a timeless and elegant design.
Roboto is a font with dual nature making it one of the most popular fonts among Webflow users. While it has a mechanical skeleton, it still features friendly and open curves.
Google designed the Roboto font to serve as the system font for the Android operating system. Today, you can see Roboto on some of the most popular websites and apps like Youtube, Flipkart, Vice, Google Maps, and more.
4 Neuve Helvetica
Helvetica Neue falls into a category of sans-serif typefaces and was designed by Max Miedinger in 1957. Since then, this font has become the second most widely adopted font on the web, with over 200k websites using it.
The font gained popularity due to its simplicity and many different available versions to fit various web design styles. The font family comes with 128 different typefaces, covering light, heavy, roman, outline, condensed, and other stylings.
5 Times New Roman
If you ever went to school and had to write a seminar paper on a computer, you are probably well familiar with Times New Roman. Times New Roman is one of the most popular and recognizable fonts ever and offers great readability features.
This font fits great for blog posts and other websites containing long-form content.
Raleway is an elegant sans-serif typeface family that pairs well with both modern and classic fonts. Initially, the font was meant to be a single font, thin in weight, but over the years, it has expanded to include nine weights.
A wide range of styles gives designers a lot of versatility in using the font in different aspects of web design. As mentioned above, this font goes hand in hand with other fonts and pairs well with Open Sans, Cabin, Barlow, Droid Serif, Alice, Merriweather, etc.
7 Open Sans
Open Sans is one of the most popular fonts in flat design-style web design as it does not create any redundant visual noise. This means that it does not have rendering issues making it a very well-performing and clear font on all pages.
Best suited to paragraphs and smaller text, it is available in 13 styles ranging from light to extra bold to help you convey the message exactly as you intended.
Its creator Juan Pablo del Peral designed Alegreya with print in mind to use it in literature. Google Fonts describe Alegreya Sans as a humanist sans serif family with a calligraphic feeling that conveys a dynamic and varied rhythm.
Its quill-like appearance translates to the screen nicely, and the font is pleasant for the eyes. Available in 16 styles and font weights, designers use Alegreta to achieve a more classic touch.
Lato is a unique sans-serif font and means summer in Polish. It was designed in 2010 by Adam Twardoch, Botio Nikoltchev, and Łukasz Dziedzic and is one of Google Fonts’ most-used typefaces for body text.
The font comes in 18 styles and different weights. Lato is known for round edges and a welcoming vibe and goes well as the content font in paragraphs.
Poppins is a geometric style font with 18 different font weights ranging from thin to black. As a newer font, it became popular with designers that want to convey a more playful, modern, and natural feeling.
What makes this font special is its open feel, making it a popular option for both headlines and paragraph copy.
11 Playfair Display
Playfair Display is a serif display font with strong, bold lines and stands as one of the most used fonts in web design. Being a transitional design, Playfair works well as a headline and title font paired with Georgia for body text.
The font style portrays a traditional, reliable, and respectable design and helps you convey a credible feel on your site.
12 Mission Script
Mission Script is a fun and friendly font that is tall in x-height, and very slight in tilt. The creator of Mission Script, James Edmondson designed it for display typography.
Its playful brushstrokes and down-to-earth styling evokes a warm and friendly feeling and help the designer achieve a very home feeling. Due to its gentle and hand-feel-like design, it appears to be a popular choice for websites that predominantly target female audiences.
In conclusion, there are thousands of fonts you can pick from when deciding what font to use for your next Webflow project. With so many styles available only a click away, choosing the perfect one can be overwhelming. To help you with the selection, we created this guide with 12 fonts that you can't go wrong with picking them.
Ultimately, picking the right font will depend on many factors, including the style and message you want to portray. When choosing fonts, remember to pick the fonts that will allow you to stay consistent across all your pages and help you represent your or your client's brand. Staying consistent with font selection will create a better user experience and help visitors focus on your content instead of being confused about finding the information they are looking for.