Why is Typography an Essential Part of Web Design?

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Be Bold. Or Italic. Never regular – as the old graphic design joke goes. It’s a pretty played out pun by this point, but the truth is that typography is as essential to great design today as it has always been. Let’s take a look at the ways that creative and inspired typography can help designers to build unforgettable online experiences.

Maybe there’s even something a little surprising in our ongoing obsession with all things font, given the move from print to digital design. But, of course, effective and cohesive visual communication is now more important than ever. And typography is intrinsically related to technological advancements in the digital era.

95% of websites are made up of content. But equally important to what words you’re saying is how those words look. So, an opening word of advice for brands and organisations in the early phases of web design: pay as much attention to your Sans Serif as you do to your “About Us” section.

Let’s take a look at the ways that creative and inspired typography can help designers to build unforgettable online experiences.

UX Design & Establishing Hierarchy

As we’ve moved further and further into the world of UX, we’ve found that an increasingly important part of good design is finding a way to guide your user through site in the most natural way possible, with minimal effort on their part when it comes to making sense of everything. Type not only creates harmony and consistency across your site – it also provides a frame of context for your user to interpret content.

Whether that’s through style or size or placement – the user differentiates different types of information. A much better option than presenting them with a homogenous block of text. Of course, going wild with too many fonts will have the opposite effect. Select between two and four fonts and apply them carefully.

Brand Identity & Bespoke Typefaces

Robert Bringhurst describes typography in his book as “the craft of human language with a durable visual tone”. Type is a meaningful a mode of visual communication that gives an impression of tone and personality and relationship to the audience as human speech in exactly the same way that speech does.

The right font has the power to evoke the feelings and emotions in your user that you want them to associate with your brand or business. 2017 was the year of the bespoke typeface – Youtube and Coco-Cola both released their own custom fonts. They followed in the footsteps of Google, who released Roboto is 2011. Roboto is a neo-grotesque sans-serif font described by the company as “modern, yet approachable” and, “emotional”.

For brands and organisations, the custom typeface is a pragmatic move. To say that it’s a crowded marketplace would be a meaningless understatement, and designing something that’s just yours is a way of protecting your brand and cementing your visual identity.

As any good luxury branding agency will tell you, the bespoke typeface is here to stay. Here’s a good roundup, taking a look at The Death of Helvetica.

Typography and Virtual Reality

The digital designer’s role will change again with the arrival of VR and AR into mainstream culture and brand experiences. Type is still immensely relevant, but these new interfaces with their own unique set of challenges. The entire dynamic of typography as a visual medium changes.

As The Drum puts it: “in VR, type becomes physical, elastic, monumental, dimensional, and confrontational”. Designers must consider motion, volume, UI/ UX and sound in additional to the visual effect. VR dispenses with the frame, creating a new challenge for your user when it comes to establishing context for… well, text. The job of the designer is, as always, to solve it.

There’s always a place for considerations related to font when it comes to web design. Make sure your words are speaking for your brand in the way that you want them to with careful and consider application of typography and a creative approach to harnessing new technologies.

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