How to Choose a Typeface: Fonts and Typefaces in Web Design

Subscribe to our newsletter
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Back to all posts


Choosing a typeface for a web design project is an underrated but important decision. There are estimated to be over 200,000 typefaces currently meaning it's not an easy decision to make with what can seem like endless options.

The typeface you choose will determine the impression visitors get of your website when they first visit. This article will discuss the difference between typeface and fonts, tips on how to choose the correct typeface and the overall importance of typeface in web design.

What's the Difference Between Font and Typeface

A crucial distinction exists between typeface and font. A typeface is a collection of fonts that share a core design, encompassing variations in weight, style, and size. For instance, Helvetica is a typeface, while Helvetica Bold and Helvetica Italic are specific fonts within the Helvetica typeface family.

Different Types of Typeface


Characterised by small decorative strokes at the ends of letters, serif fonts convey a sense of tradition, formality, and trustworthiness. They are ideal for applications like body text in books or formal documents.


Sans-serif means 'without serif'. Lacking serifs (the decorative strokes), these fonts project a clean, modern aesthetic. Their high legibility makes them well-suited for headlines, website interfaces, and other applications where clarity is paramount.


Decorative or display typefaces are often the most exciting and your eye is drawn to them the most. Decorative typefaces are ideal for grabbing attention in headlines or short bursts of text.

Resembling handwritten or calligraphic styles, these script fonts add a touch of elegance or informality. Their use is best reserved for titles, short taglines, or decorative elements due to potential readability concerns in larger blocks of text.

Tips for Choosing Your Typeface and Font

Choosing the right typeface is an important decision, so we will give you some tips to ensure you're building a brand that is timeless and striking.


Consider your messaging as the main driving factor behind your typeface decision. Typeface can help to support your brand voice. For instance, a playful brand can reiterate this through fun and casual typeface choices.

Target Audience

Who are you looking to target? You should consider your target audience when choosing fonts. For instance, if targeting a younger audience perhaps you'll want to choose a more casual font, where as a professional audience would better prefer a serif typeface of some form.


All web design projects should have accessibility and legibility in mind. At the end of the day, typeface is the medium used to get your messaging across so visitors need to be able to read it. This is why decorative fonts should be reserved for smaller amounts of text, like headings, rather than body text. A lot of calligraphy in one space can be difficult to read and lead to dissatisfied visitors.


If your website is going to be translated into different languages then it's important that you consider your typeface choice carefully. Not every typeface extended to accented languages, let alone Greek or languages with other lettering.


If you already have an established brand then consider what typefaces are currently in your logo and other branded materials. Perhaps not the decorative fonts, but other typefaces could also be appropriate to be used in your web design.

If you don't already have an established brand or you are completely rebranding then now is a great time to create synergy between typefaces used in your logo and website.


Begin by selecting a primary typeface which will typically be used for headings and titles. Your secondary typeface should compliment the primary font but still have some visual distinction. You should avoid fonts that are too similar and would come across as monotone.

Great distinctions between primary and secondary typefaces include weight, alignment and style.


There are many great typefaces out there, multiple of which might fit your branding perfectly. But don't get carried away. Select 2-3 typefaces at most. An excessive number can overwhelm website visitors.


Licenses can be a tricky thing to understand when it comes to typefaces. Luckily, there are many typefaces that are free to use, however more unique fonts will require some kind of license to use online or in print.

Font licenses vary depending on the foundry or designer, but generally outline how you can use the fonts. Common licenses restrict use to personal projects, desktop publishing, or website embedding. Ignoring licensing can lead to copyright infringement, so be sure to check the license terms before incorporating a font into your design. Many foundries offer free or inexpensive licenses for personal or commercial use.

Typeface Combinations

It's best practice to use at least two typefaces or fonts on your website to define an information hierarchy on your website. Here are some ideas to help you conclude what combinations would work best for your web design project.

Unexpected Pairings

Experiment with combining fonts that at first glance might not work together. For example, using a bold, geometric sans-serif typeface with a delicate script font. It's important when venturing into the unexpected that the fonts chosen still maintain a good level of legibility.

Size and Weight

Another winning combination can be created by manipulating font size and weight to establish a clear hierarchy. Large and bold fonts naturally draw the eye and suit well as headings. On the other hand, smaller fonts suit well for body text.

The Importance of Typeface in Web Design

Typography, serves two primary purposes in design. The first is legibility; the typeface must be clear and easy to read for the intended audience. Studies suggest that poorly chosen fonts can lead to a 20% decrease in reading comprehension [source: University of Minnesota].

The second is the creation of a specific mood or aesthetic. Typeface selection can evoke feelings of professionalism, modernity, playfulness, or seriousness, depending on the chosen style. For instance, a serif typeface like Times New Roman lends a sense of authority, making it a suitable choice for formal documents, professional services or academic publications.

On the other hand, a sans-serif typeface like Arial projects a clean, modern aesthetic, ideal for website interfaces or contemporary marketing materials.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right typeface is an investment in the overall user experience of your website. By considering your target audience, brand identity and the message you want to convey, you can select a typeface that not only enhances readability but also strengthens your brand image.

Following the tips in this article can help you to find the perfect typeface that sets your website apart from your competitors as well as leaving a memorable impression.

Request a quote

We'd love to hear from you

Provide some details below and we'll get in touch with you

Thank you!
We have recieved your enquiry and will be in touch shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.