Ask a designer what their favorite fonts are and watch their eyes light up like the night sky full of stars. They will wax rhapsodic about the merits of their favorites well after your eyes glaze over.
So What is the Big Deal About Fonts?
Fonts are extremely powerful design elements. A font can standalone as its own design… or strongly enhance a marketing image. Often the cheapest design element, it’s hard to convince clients that the font is usually doing the heavy lifting with designs. Pictures are wonderful but they can only go so far. Fonts usually "seal the deal" in making effective designs.
In web design, Google Fonts are the hot topic. There certainly are some good ones but as is often the case with anything free, you have to sift out the good from the bad. Issues that can come up with Google Fonts are poor kerning (spacing between letters), may come in only one or two font weights, and several are imitators of highly popular paid fonts. Usually logo fonts are not Google Fonts.
So What Fonts Should You Pick for a Website and How Many?
Typically two are a safe bet, one for the content areas and one for the titles. Be sure to pick fonts that work with your logo. Ideally one of the fonts should be your logo font. One of the easiest ways to find good font pairings is to use a font family (Proxima Nova and PT Sans are two good examples).
My favorite starting place for webfonts is Typekit. They cherry pick quality fonts that have excellent kerning, have frequently proven themselves as print design fonts, and Typekit continually publishes technical enhancements released from font designers.
To get you started – here are a few strong paragraph fonts from Typekit.
- Museo Sans
- Proxima Nova
- Nimbus Sans
- PT Sans
- Franklin Gothic URW
- Myriad Pro (also comes in condensed – nice for titles)
There you go, one designer’s secret sauce to designing sites. Enjoy!
Psst, Typekit will be adding desktop sync for their fonts. Now you can enjoy great looking fonts for your own materials affordably.