How to choose the best fonts for your website and branding
Your website font says a lot about your business’ personality and values. Use these 7 tips to pick the best font for your website.
Fonts probably seem like the furthest thing from important when you’re designing your website.
They’re the window treatment on the building, right?
Fonts are a vital part of your branding and make big impacts on the perception of your business.
Today, we bring you seven essential tips for finding the right fonts for your site, from choosing the best fonts to where to download them.
It can change everything.
But first, let’s quickly cover why a font by any other name isn’t just as sweet.
Why do website fonts matter?
There’s a lot riding on your website fonts because they help communicate your business’ personality, message, and values.
In a visual way, your website font conveys a message to your audience without them even reading your site’s copy.
Take, for example, Mailchimp, which rebranded its site with typeface Cooper Light.
Why did they go with Cooper Light?
Mailchimp believes the font can be “dressed-up and editorial or casual and approachable”. It’s also a typeface that conveys trustworthiness, sincerity, and optimism, which are traits that align with their brand values.
The right fonts also serve a functional purpose. They can help people easily understand your brand’s message across a range of devices and platforms.
Airbnb, for example, opted for a font called Cereal because it works well on multiple online and offline platforms. The font presents Airbnb as accessible and user-friendly.
Speaking of accessibility, it’s important to pick a font that’s accessible to all your audience members, particularly if your brand crosses into different languages.
If you pick a font that’s readable by your customers’ various languages, visitors who use an automatic translator can still read your website with ease.
As an example, let’s use the text “The quick brown fox.”
In English, the text is perfectly readable in Merriweather font.
But, when translated into Czech, it’s much less readable and aesthetically-pleasing.
So, if a significant part of your audience is translating your website into another language, make sure your font is readable in all languages.
Beyond readability, many research studies show that fonts can influence consumers’ views of a brand and its products universally.
For instance, font characteristics -- like naturalness, harmony, and weight -- influence your audience’s overall brand perception.
They also affect your audience’s buying intent.
One study found that when people shop for a relaxing vacation, an easy-to-read font increases their willingness to pay for a tour.
On the contrary, though, when shoppers search for a more adventurous tour, a harder-to-read font increases their willingness to pay for a tour.
In addition to all of the above impacts, fonts also affect your customers’ experience beyond the point of purchase, and play into product perceptions and product experiences.
In fact, in one case, curvilinearity -- or fonts with curved lines -- affected diners’ taste expectations and experiences.
What’s the moral here?
Website fonts influence how your visitors perceive your brand, products, and experiences, and they also impact your site’s accessibility and ease-of-use.
That said, picking a font that sends the right message is only part of the equation.
Familiarize yourself with our four best practices, and you’ll be much closer to finding the best font for your business.
4 tips for picking the best fonts for your website
Tip #1: Use easy-to-read fonts
The best fonts to use for a website are ones that are easily readable.
Otherwise, your website visitors may abandon your site because it’s difficult to read. Of course, this means less time spent absorbing your marketing messages and exploring your site’s offerings.
So, readability should be your first priority when choosing a site font. It’ll make everything -- from your blog posts to call-to-action (CTA) buttons to headers -- more digestible.
While there is no single standard website font that works best for every business, Verdana and Georgia are solid options for displaying long website texts.
This is also backed by this study that revealed Verdana is good for reading longer text on screens.
Readability is particularly important when it comes to displaying testimonials on your site. In fact, difficult-to-read fonts can negatively affect positive reviews and shoppers believe a reviewer is more credible when their review is easy to read.
Although, while readability is a big priority, it comes with a caveat: easy-to-read fonts may not be as memorable.
So much so that one study found when you write in hard-to-read fonts it’s better remembered than when you write in an easy-to-read font.
The study cautions against taking it too far, though, and using fonts that made reading difficult overall for readers.
So, it begs the question -- how should you balance between easy-to-ready and hard-to-read fonts on your site?
Simply put, follow this two-part rule of thumb:
- When writing longer copy, like in a blog post or sales page that converts, stick with cleaner fonts.
- Shorter texts, like CTA buttons, headlines, and sales page testimonials, may be more impactful when written in a slightly harder-to-read font.
Wild Side Design, for instance, uses multiple fonts that draw users’ attention to different parts of their page.
While its main content is in an easily readable font, its CTAs, captions, and headlines use more elaborate fonts.
For another example, look to Mad Hippie, a skincare company. It displays a font that looks handwritten to emphasize subheadings and short descriptions about its products.
Regardless of your mix in fonts, here’s the gist:
Easy-to-read fonts are often the best fonts for website text, especially long copy. Difficult-to-read fonts may be better for key information -- in shorter stints -- that you want readers to remember.
Fonts and copy lengths aren’t the only factors to experiment with, though. There’s also size to consider, which brings us to our next tip.
Tip #2: Make your font size big (enough)
While there is no universal standard website font size, you’ll want to make it large enough for your customers to read on any sized device.
One study recommended that text-heavy websites use a size 18 font or larger.
The same study found that readability, and correct answers to comprehension questions, increase when using a larger font size.
Not to mention, larger font sizes help people with visual or reading impairments.
What’s more, for both older and younger individuals, larger font sizes leads to increased productivity, accuracy, viewing distance, and a lower perception of task difficulty.
If that’s not enough to convince you to use a larger font size on your site, here’s one more consideration for you.
Font size can affect website readability and understandability for people with dyslexia, too. This experiment recommends using an 18-point font when designing a website for people with dyslexia in mind.
Choose a larger website font for increased readability and an overall better user experience. An 18-point font or larger is ideal for most websites.
While our two tips thus far focus on functionality, our third tip focuses on the aesthetics of fonts.
Tip #3: Don’t use too many fonts, font sizes, or colors
Using a few different fonts, font sizes, and colors on your website can draw attention to various components of your site, like CTAs, testimonials, and other important text.
That being said, you should limit how many fonts and colors you use, so you can create a consistent and visually appealing experience.
If you don’t, your website may be too difficult or overwhelming to read. You may also miss the mark when it comes to conveying your message because your page is too cluttered with variation.
For an example of a brand that does a solid job with their font color choices and messaging, look to Lowe’s, which uses black, blue, white, and gray text and a variety of fonts on their website.
This works in line with the brand’s colors and gender-neutral DIY home improvement positioning.
Workationing also balances the font variation well on their site. It uses black text for article titles and longer copy, and white text for buttons, headlines, and shorter text.
While you should feel free to experiment with colors beyond black and white, it’s generally best to use no more than two or three colors.
The reason being colors other than white and black can be difficult to read on a website. So, save non-black and white colors for accent colors to draw attention to something you want to highlight on your page.
Consider The Abundant Artist as an example. While a majority of their text is black, they use orange for headlines and article categories.
If you’re wondering how to pick the best combination for your website, use this guide on fonts that go together. And if you’re using Google fonts for your website, don’t miss these 21 Google Font combinations.
It’s OK to spice up your website with different font types, sizes, or colors. Just make sure each font complements the other and still provides a clean and seamless experience for your visitors.
Keep your pizzazz to a minimum though, because you’ll want to keep designs consistent across all your pages.
Tip #4: Keep your font usage consistent
Our final tip today is to use fonts consistently throughout your entire site.
Aside from adding to your branding power, consistent font usage provides your visitors with a better user experience and makes perusing your website more enjoyable.
More specifically, using the same fonts in the same formats (such as headlines or body content) helps visitors find information more easily. After all, 56% of consumers expect to find what they need in three clicks or less, so whatever you can do to ease navigation is super helpful.
Plus, when you present a unified appearance on your site, you also come off as more professional and trustworthy.
This is a big deal considering a whopping 48% of consumers claim a brand’s website is one of the most trusted sources of information.
Gaining your visitors’ trust has to happen fast, too. These days, people judge a website’s credibility within 3.42 seconds based on its aesthetic appeal.
What’s more, consistency between a brand’s image and website can lead to a positive attitude towards the brand, as well.
To help you experience all these benefits, here are two examples of brands that use consistent fonts.
Amazon uses the font Amazon Ember throughout its homepage.
Not to toot our own horn, but Podia uses the same fonts for headers and regular text across site pages, too.
The main takeaway is to use the same fonts for the same elements across your whole site, to make it easy for your visitors to navigate through.
Now that you’re familiar with font best practices, let’s look at how you can use them to find the best font for your site.
How to find the best font for your website
#1. Figure out what message you want your font to send
While readability should be your top criteria when picking a font, the message you want it to send should come in as a close second.
This restaurant opted for a font that tied in with their image of haute cuisine, for instance.
Nature, an academic journal, chose a font called Harding because they wanted a font that better represents mathematical symbols and formulae.
They also chose a new font that gave off the impression of “calm, rational intelligence” to align with their branding.
Though fonts are just stand-ins for spoken words, they can send off surprisingly different vibes.
Consider Times News Roman, a widely used font. Times New Roman was perceived to be more angry and funny than Arial when study participants read satirical texts with the Times font.
In a separate study, experimental participants were shown emails written with different fonts.
Participants who saw an email written in Gigi (which you can see below) perceived it to be more rebellious and youthful than the other fonts studied. The participants also considered Gigi to be less stable and practical.
Participants also considered the author of the Gigi email to be less professional, trustworthy, and mature.
As these findings show, fonts can say a lot more about your business and personality than the literal words they represent.
To make sure your audience is interpreting your message correctly, test your fonts before a site-wide rollout.
#2: Test your fonts with your audience
Because of how many ways a given font can be perceived, conduct customer research to understand how your target audience interprets those fonts.
Not only should your font be easy to read, but it should also be enjoyable to read.
As they say, time flies when you’re having fun, and the same goes for reading your site.
In fact, experimental participants underestimated how long they spent reading a text by three minutes and 18 seconds, on average, when they read a text with good typography.
As opposed to people who read a text with a poor font and underestimated their reading time by 24 seconds, on average.
These findings suggest that a good font can keep readers engaged with your site’s text, so it’s worth finding the right one.
Some of your findings may upend your expectations, but that’s a good thing -- your research should help you identify ways to make your site better for your customers, not confirm your theories.
For example, you may think that using a simpler font could boost conversions on your sales and product pages. But one research study found that adding a smoother font wasn’t effective in terms of increasing an ecommerce site’s conversion rate.
The lesson here is to test fonts with your audience before applying them to your entire website. Customers’ interpretations of those fonts -- and how they respond to them -- may surprise you.
But, if your findings are inconclusive or you don’t have enough people to survey, you can opt for our final tip.
#3: When in doubt, opt for a common font
Until you figure out the best fonts for your brand, stick with top website fonts like Georgia and Verdana.
As we mentioned earlier, several studies have found Verdana to be among the best fonts for website body text.
In one research study, experimental participants expressed a preference for Verdana when reading on a computer screen. Participants also read more quickly and had fewer regressions (backward movement) when reading a text with Verdana.
Now, you may be worried your customers could confuse your business for another if you used a common font -- and that’s not unreasonable.
But, as entrepreneur Thierry Brunfaut notes, using similar fonts as others in your industry isn’t always a bad thing.
Thierry said that:
“The amount of visuals the consumer is bombarded by every day is tremendous -- in the street, on a laptop, or a smartphone.
A visual chaos that makes it hard to navigate into. Impact and, most of all, clarity, have become keywords for all brands.
All these bold and neutral logos are telling the consumer the same message: Our brand and our services are simple, straightforward, and clear. And extremely readable.”
Don’t shy away from commonly used fonts -- they can often make it easier for visitors to use your website or send a stronger message to customers than a unique (untested) font would.
Whether you’re sticking with a familiar or totally new font, check out the font foundries below for adding new fonts to your site.
Where to find the best fonts for your website
When it comes to locating fonts to use for your website, you have two options. The first is to use what’s built into your website builder of choice.
The second is to use a font foundry, or a website where fonts are available for download and or/sale, which, of course, opens you up to more possibilities.
Some of the best online font foundries are:
#1. Google Fonts
Google Fonts is one of the best font websites and arguably the best website for free fonts. Creators can access hundreds of open source fonts that can be used for over 135 languages.
Each of the fonts on Google Fonts is free to use and can be used for commercial purposes.
Like Google Fonts, Fonts.com has thousands of fonts to choose front -- over 150,000, to be more precise.
However, you’ll need to purchase each font before using it.
Fontspring is a font foundry that also offers thousands of paid fonts.
What sets Fontspring apart from other foundries is that they include a badge for fonts that don’t impose unusual restrictions or terms on users.
This lowers your chance of accidentally breaching your contract when using a font you purchase from their platform.
#4. What Font
What Font is a website font detector extension that helps you identify the fonts on any given webpage.
Though it doesn’t have fonts for sale, it helps you identify a font on another website that you’d like to use on your own.
#5. Type Detail
If you’ve found a font you like, but aren’t sure how it will look in different sizes and weights, head over to Type Detail.
Among other things, Type Detail shows how the font looks in different sizes and weights, what makes the font unique, and also similar fonts.
Now that you know where to find your ideal font, check out how you can easily change fonts on your Podia storefront.
How to change fonts on your Podia storefront
You can change your website fonts in a blink of an eye iif you host your storefront on Podia.
First, head over to the Podia Editor, and select the page you want to edit. From there, choose your headings and body type style from the “Fonts” dropdown menu.
Simply click the downward-facing arrow beside each font box, and select the font you like.
If you don’t like any of the fonts available, get in touch with our support team.
Click the purple chat icon on our homepage, and we'll gladly add any Google Font to your storefront.
And there you go! You’ve just added a unique font to your storefront.
Don’t have a storefront to add a font to yet? Get one today and sign up for a 14-day no-obligation Podia trial.
Pick the best font for your website in a few simple steps
Fonts do more than represent words -- they can affect how people perceive your business.
Needless to say, picking a font for your business should rank alongside picking the right logo, brand colors, and website layout.
When using website fonts, you should:
- Use an easy-to-read font
- Make your font large enough for most people to read (size 18 font or larger)
- Don’t use too many different fonts types, sizes, or colors
- Keep your font usage consistent
- Pick a font that sends the right message about your brand
- Test your font with your audience
- Use a common font if you can’t yet decide what fonts to use
Like the right logo and brand colors, your website fonts can make the difference between a positive and poor impression of your website visitors. Here’s to providing a positive one.
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