Web safe fonts. If you are a web designer or developer, names like Arial, Verdana, Georgia, or Tahoma instantly come to mind when you hear those words. Up until recent years, designers (sometimes begrudgingly) relied on these and a small handful of other web safe fonts to allow visitors to view fonts correctly on screen. Internet browsers could only display fonts that were installed on a person’s individual computer, so this standard set of fonts became the typographical foundation for most websites.
With only a few web safe fonts available, web designs of the past have been extremely limited in the use of exciting and engaging typography. Specialty fonts online were generally reserved for main headlines and could only be placed in as static images, limiting the functionality of the type and hurting search engine optimization (SEO).
In recent years, there has been an emergence of font-embedding services, like Typekit, letting designers break out of the “safe” zone. Designers have more font options and can not only play with font style, but also the important details of leading and line height. These new options for fonts allow text to be easily updated and copied and selected from the browser, meanwhile maintaining a positive effect on SEO.
The font-embedding tools have created a boom in typographical exploration. Strong typography on a site can help tell a story as well as evoke an emotion from the audience. It can also set a tone for the site or emphasize a chosen theme. This year are seeing designs that are using large and exciting font choices, both through the use of static image and services like Typekit.
The big trend right now is to go huge with your headlines. These over-sized headlines capture the attention of the audience immediately and can make a site stand apart from their web-safe counterparts. Not only that, they can also create a visual hierarchy with the rest of the elements on the page as well as improve legibility for the viewer. The trend of typography on the web is definitely long-awaited and something I think it will keep growing and continue to be explored through a variety of methods. Typography lends a richness to websites that we haven’t seen in past years and gives web designers a whole new way to present information.
Check out the designs below for great uses of large typography.