web typography study guide

Web typography is the art of arranging type and type design on a website. Although the structure of the web is being said to encourage scanning and link-hopping instead of reading, the written word is still the key to displaying information—and how that text is arranged becomes even more important in attracting people’s attention and inspiring them to fully explore the website.

Web Design is 95% Typography

In 2006 Oliver Reichenstein wrote an article titled Web Design is 95% Typography. He claims that “text is the user interface” on an information-based website. The type design plays a huge role in influencing both the usability and the accessibility of a website, and many factors and values should be considered in arranging type to provide the user with a pleasant and easy reading experience.

Web typography has come a long way since the <font> tag was first introduced in HTML. Although the typographic options may still be limited compared to print designs, the pool of choices is growing and will continue to grow. More choices mean more responsibilities. No matter how technology may change, many typography-related design principles will remain the same. For instance, readability and legibility should always be the priority when a designer makes font choices. And web typography is not just about font selection. Forms, spaces, and contrasts all play essential roles in achieving overall harmony on a web page.

The purpose of this overview is to help the new web designer understand how typography is used on the web both aesthetically and technically. The topics cover web typography from two perspectives: micro and macro. The former concerns smaller and more detailed features of typography, such as spacing and the glyph of typeface. The latter focuses on the overall structure of the text as a whole. But the best way to truly master typography on the web is to in practice what you’ve learned. The more you do, the better you become!