Good page design isn’t just about shiny buttons, polished reflections and subtle gradients. An understanding of web typography is essential if your site is to be more than mere eye candy.
Typography is about more than just choosing the right fonts for your design. Think of it as encompassing everything on your page even remotely to do with text on your page. This includes the way it looks, the space around it, how it relates to neighbouring text, line-spacing, proportional sizes, leading, kerning – the list goes on. And since a good website is nothing without content, the typography is as important part of the overall design as any other.
Font choice is an obvious place to start. There is no right or wrong when it comes to the individual fonts, but keep in mind that any text rendered as HTML needs to be a standard web font, so make sure any graphical headings work well alongside the HTML text. Limit yourself to no more than tow or three font styles on a page, with each having a distinct purpose (section headings, pull-out quotes, etc). The same applies to font sizes. This not only makes the page look neater and clearer to read, but can also cut down the amount of CSS styles needed when you construct the HTML.
White space (or negative space) is the space between elements on the page, and is one of the most important typographic tools at your disposal. It allows you to draw the reader’s focus to important text, emphasise content and improve readability. Unfortunately it remains one of the most misunderstood by clients, who frequently try to fill dead space, resulting in cluttered-looking pages.
Line length is also key in creating a clean, readable layout. Studies have found that participants read varying line lengths at similar speeds, but expressed a preference for lenghts of around four to six inches (or 10-15 words). This fits the natural arc of the eye, meaning it has to travel less, thus the visitor can give their full concentration to our carefully crafted page content.