- Published: Jan 9, 2009
- Last Updated: Mar 1, 2023
- 12 min. read
William CraigCEO & Co-Founder
- President of WebFX. Bill has over 25 years of experience in the Internet marketing industry specializing in SEO, UX, information architecture, marketing automation and more. William’s background in scientific computing and education from Shippensburg and MIT provided the foundation for MarketingCloudFX and other key research and development projects at WebFX.
Typography in web design plays an integral part in setting the tone, theme, and message of a website. For example, you can convey a site’s focus on modernity or traditionalism simply by choosing to use sans serif or serif fonts, respectively. You can call attention to particular parts of the content, and deemphasize others, by changing the font’s color, line-height, style, and size.
An effective palette of fonts not only makes a design attractive, but also contributes to the readability and usability of the content. In this collection, you’ll find a variety of sites that showcase creative and functional uses of typography.
In Jason Santa Maria‘s personal site, the typography selection and styling plays a large part in the minimalist design. Article titles are large, drawing your attention to them right away. sIFR is used in several places (such as the footer headings) to allow the use of non web-safe fonts without using images for text.
2. Elysium Burns
Elysium Burns infuses large, bold, sans serif fonts with traditional serif fonts to create a stunning design. CSS image backgrounds are used for the articles’ titles and site headings.
Web designer and developer Henry Jones combines the use of serif and sans serif fonts to create a unique web design. The design of Web Design Ledger showcases the readers’ recent comments with large, emphasized type not only as a functional element in the design, but also for creative purposes.
5. Future Of Web Apps
The Future Of Web Apps website uses a variety of large and bold text with bright colors. The main navigation’s font is bold with negative letter-spacing and a short line-height, creating a compact and unique text-based navigation menu.
Diaroogle.com is an excellent example of using both serif and sans serif fonts in a web design while still keeping a tight and complementary composition. The search input box uses a calligraphic font making it stand out while still being unobtrusive.
In minimalist designs, typography plays a large part in the layout and theme of the design. The Morning News uses clean and appropriately-spaced fonts with subtle colors to create a clean and crisp atmosphere.
9. Ordered List
Ordered List utilizes a variety of big, bold sizes and colors to compliment the rather dark background. By using CSS background images for headings, the font used can be a non web-safe font face while still retaining the site’s accessibility and indexibility.
11. Meagan Fisher
Meagan Fisher employs a variety of serif font faces and styles in her personal site. The hang tag image on the top left corner of the web design quickly tells the visitors where they are; using a unique font in this case can call the user’s attention to the tiny blurb.
12. The New Yorker
The New Yorker brings their magazine’s trademark font on the web, maintaining their brand in both print and web mediums. The use of serif font gives the reader a sense that The New Yorker is a traditional and long-established magazine.
It’s a difficult feat to use a dark background without being associated with the non-mainstream and underground class of websites. Black Estate Vineyard is able to use a black background (their brand color) – while still maintaining a sense of sophistication – by using big, bolded serif fonts. Using a high-contrast color (white) as the foreground color allows for better readability.
14. Ad Fed MN
AD Fed MN successfully mixes sans serif and serif fonts in the design. A simple and bright navigation menu on the top right of the design allows for an attractive and compact primary navigation scheme. The sidebar features image replacement headings so that they can utilize non web-safe fonts while still retaining accessibility and indexibility.
15. What a Lovely Name
What a Lovely Name is a simple web application that helps users choose a name for their baby based on keywords (“tags”). The keywords are arranged in a tag cloud with more popular tags being larger and bolder than less popular tags.
16. Rustin Jessen
Rustin Jessen‘s site is minimalist for a reason: to direct the reader’s attention towards his wonderful works of art.
17. The Darling Tree
The Darling Tree‘s use of various font styles and sizes contributes greatly to the design theme.
19. A List Apart
A List Apart‘s minimalist design is centered on the attractive and functional application of typography. Adequate line-spacing in the content’s text makes their articles more readable and different colors of the titles and headings create a visual relationship between articles in the same topic.
20. Training by Collective Idea
A beautiful upcoming events section on the top right of the design showcases their meticulous attention to typography.
Let’s talk type
Have anything interesting to share regarding typography in web design? What are your favorite fonts? Do you know of a site with great typography that’s not featured here?
Please share it with all of us in the comments section.
President of WebFX. Bill has over 25 years of experience in the Internet marketing industry specializing in SEO, UX, information architecture, marketing automation and more. William’s background in scientific computing and education from Shippensburg and MIT provided the foundation for MarketingCloudFX and other key research and development projects at WebFX.
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