One of the most overlooked aspects of website design – and of graphic design in general – is typography. Typography is simply the art of arranging type in a way that achieves a desired visual effect and that conveys the meaning of the reading material.
For a good primer on typography, check out this blog entry on Typography 101.
But is typography really that important? I’d argue strongly that it is the biggest component in a website design, for nearly all types of websites. The obvious exceptions are sites for photographers, models, illustrators, etc. In those visually-oriented sites, images don’t just make sense, they are essential. The key to using images on a website is not to scatter pretty pictures around just because you think it needs them or because it’s the trend, but to make sure the images make sense for the purpose of the website.
Understanding the basic components of good typography makes it possible to use text as a design element, one that can be every bit as effective as an image. It can be huge, simple, colorful, or crazy. But make sure that whatever you’re using doesn’t obscure the content. After all, if I can’t read it or make sense out of it, it’s not very effective.
Three sites that make effective use of typography:
Typography can make or break your website. It can take your site from good to great… or to confusing. Choose carefully!