Typographic design for the web

Like print designers, the web designers also realize the importance of typographic design for the web. That is why they spend hours selecting the font, font size, spacing between lines, alignment styles etc. They know that a good font will lift a web page; a wrong font will kill the page. Some of the points that the designers keep in mind while selecting fonts, also known as types, are:

1. Selecting the right font: Today, hundreds of fonts are stored in the hard drive of all computers. However, this does not mean that all computers will have all the fonts. The three fonts found commonly in all computers are: Arial, Times Roman and Verdana. The first choice of any designer should be to use one of these fonts. He will then be sure that all browsers across the world can read the web page.

The second point in font selection is the use of serifs. Serifs are small hooks or curls at the end of a character. These tiny flourishes make reading easy because they give a feeling of continuation, and have been a favourite of print designers.

However, on the net sans serif fonts look visually more pleasing. A good example is Arial which is the fonts used in over 75 percent of web pages. But designers can also select a serifed font like Times Roman. Most newspaper readers are familiar with this font, and find it easier to adjust to the web pages using Times Roman.

Sans serifs are fonts that have bolder and starker characters and are more suited for headlines. They can also be used for setting text for a subhead, small boxes or blurbs. For large chunks of copy

2. Point size: The point size depends upon the X-height of letters. There are some fonts that have large X-height. These fonts should be used in small points. Fonts, whose letters have small x-heights should be used in a large point site.

3. Paragraph Design: You should avoid running text edge to edge without a margin. People will not even bother to read a word. Keep at least an inch or two on all sides and limit each sentence in the paragraph to less than 20 words. The paragraphs should not have more than three sentences.

Avoid setting in two columns on a page. Sticking to a single column is a safer option. And if you do opt for multiple columns, make sure that your headlines and subheads are not centred but are left aligned instead. And whether your columns are single or multiple, keep the copy unjustified. It’s a chore to box text. 4. Use white space intelligently: Keep in mind one simple scientific fact: the human eye has been designed to pick up light, not darkness. It picks up light and then discerns dark objects that lie on this light background. Daylight is your white space. A single tree in this daylight is the dark object that your eye recognises. Think of your web page in the same manner. The more the white space separating the elements in your page, the easier it is for your visitor.

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