In the past, web designers were very limited in their choice of typography. Times New Roman and Arial or Serif and Sans Serif were the standard available fonts and they left little room for creative expression. The use of non-standard fonts was a risk: if people didn’t have the font installed on their computer, the basic fonts would be displayed which could then cause issues with the way the content appeared onscreen.
Of course, designers were free to use any font of their choice in graphic elements, but the use of images introduced many other complications such as font consistency throughout the website. It also had a negative impact on search engine optimization due to the inability for search engines to read the text contained in the images.
Fortunately with the advent of webfonts, these issues have largely disappeared. Webfonts are just what they sound like – typography that is hosted online, so that anyone can view them without having the font pre-installed.
One of the most notable webfont service providers is Google Fonts. Google Fonts are free, and don’t add significant development time or costs to implement. These freely available options have taken the handcuffs off designers wanting to be expressive through the use of typography.
Another benefit: many of us have brand guidelines that stipulate specific fonts for business communications, so you can now be consistent on the web just like you are in print!
For more information, visit http://www.google.com/fonts to see if your font requirements are supported. If there is no direct match, check out http://joelcrawfordsmith.com/new/content/your-guide-best-google-web-fonts, which has suggestions for some of the more popular corporate fonts.
For those looking for additional options, there are companies such as Fontspring which provide a huge catalogue of both free and paid webfonts for corporate use.
- Having too many webfonts will cause additional loading time to your site
- The major web browsers handle webfonts differently and your .css file must be coded to handle these differences
- Certain webfonts can be difficult to read on mobile devices
If you are interested in adding webfonts to your website, contact us today to get started.