What do you "font"?

Posted by Matthew Foster in Hints, Tips & Guides on 04 Aug 2014 at 15:22

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"A picture paints a thousand words" or so the saying goes. But words are also useful when trying to convey your brand, so it’s worth spending some time looking at which fonts you are going to use. Using the wrong font can make your website seem cheap, mismatched or poorly made, none of which are desired outcomes. Also there’s no point having a font nobody can read. Fancy can grab the eye but readability has to be king.

The advent of WebFonts has thankfully surpassed the old problem of not being able to view a font that was not installed on your system, as effectively the browser accesses the font from the web server rather than relying on it being installed on your computer. But this relies on your web company setting up the WebFonts correctly when they build your site, otherwise there could potentially be problems with certain browser types not being able to show the fonts you have chosen.

Another issue that many people overlook with fonts is cost. In order to use many fonts for commercial use (e.g. on a company website) you would need to purchase a license. We often find when we engage with new clients who have had their website built by other companies that they are unaware that their website is using an unlicensed font. Font licenses range wildly, from a few pounds to hundreds of thousands. However the same can be said of the fines that accompany their misuse. It’s worth checking any web design contract before signing it to see who will be liable for license payments. I would guess that 99% of the time it will be the client, rather than the agency, who will be liable. This can be a serious cost that you need to factor into your overall budget. An off the shelf font is no different to a picture, it is a copyrighted item.

An uncommon font can add exclusivity and a bespoke feel to your brand, giving your website text an impact it may not otherwise have. However having too many different fonts on your website can make it seem disorganised or indecisive. Having a good conversation with your web design company can ensure that your fonts convey the message of your site as much as the words they spell.


Matthew Foster

Matthew Foster is Managing Director at Digivo Ltd. Prior to this he worked in several different jobs, ranging from Operations Director at a London advertising agency to Head Doorman of a nightclub. He is a firm believer that good business delivers repeat business, ensuring Digivo delivers exactly what our customer's need, when they need it. He also believes that in order to be great, a business has to listen to its customers and consistently give them what they want. Away from work he is an avid petrol head and in his spare time enjoys cars, motorbikes, boxing and playing guitar.

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