Web Design Deadly Sin # 7 – Choosing the Wrong Font

We’ve already discussed the issue of content vs design. But we felt that one deadly design sin that concerns both content and design needed its own space; the issue of fonts.

Many people think that the fancier the font, the better the website. But there are many things to consider when choosing the best font for your website design. Font size, colour, style and its relevance to your business are all important, and ‘fancy’ is not necessarily a good thing. In fact, certain fonts are so annoying to read on a screen, that they could even turn your visitors away.

This is Part 7 of the 7 deadly sins of web design, and what you can do to avoid them.

Awesome: Choice of font enhances message.
Each font conveys a unique message. Each section uses proper contrast

Who said grey-on-grey is readable? Readability should come first.

Hat tip to Adidas.
Yes the graphic is amazing, but the big bold font is a winner!

Using the wrong font.                     

  • Style. There are 5 basic fonts in typography, but only two which are actually successfully used on web design. Serif and Sans Serif.
    • Serif fonts have been used for centuries, and are easier to read as they have small strokes or lines extending from the ends of their characters. If your website needs to convey any of these: warmth, artistic, conservative, intellectual, traditional, or personal, then a Serif font is best.
    • Sans Serif fonts are more simple, straight or ‘without lines’. Sans Serif fonts are said to have less personality and are most often used in newspaper or magazine headlines, captions and technical content. More technical websites that need to come across as clean, crips, modern and uncluttered are better with a Sans Serif font.


  • Colour.  Poor font colour choice is one of the major annoyances for visitors. High contrast is important. If you have chosen a dark background colour like black, dark blue or green, obviously you need to use a very light font colour so that your content is easy to read. Avoid neon colours as these can be irritatingly hard to read on a screen. A bolder coloured font can be effectively used to attract attention, for example in bursts, or when displaying a special offer
  • Size. Research has shown that the size of a font can actually hurt conversion rates and jeopardise usability. In this case, bigger is better, and the recommended minimum size to use is 14.
  • Emphasis. Emphasising your fonts by using the bold, italic, or highlight feature will catch your visitors’ attention to what is important. And search engine spiders also look for phrases which are emphasised, so in this regard, it makes good sense to control your keywords by making them bold or italic. Capitalising text as a means of emphasis can be effective but should be used minimally, and only for headings.

The style, size and colour of your font needs to be carefully discussed with your web designer for maximum impact according to your particular business.

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