Typographic personalities and their application in the digital world

“All typefaces are historical” Jonathan Hoefler

Marta Guimarães Ferreira
May 10 2022 • 4 min reading
Typographic personalities and their application in the digital world

Typography may be overlooked by most people, yet we’re surrounded by it every day, from the time we read our favorite blog, first thing in the morning, to the advertising posters we run into on on our way to work, to the book we read at the end of the day.

Choosing the right typeface while it may seem like a secondary concern, is actually paramount in defining any brand’s graphic and conceptual coherence. If we look closely at a type’s anatomy, all the nooks and crannies were deliberately designed so that they not only result, as a typeface, in an aesthetically pleasing experience for the reader, but above all, lead him to make certain associations, consciously or unconsciously. Here are some examples of typefaces and the emotions they may awaken in the reader’s mind. Generally speaking, typefaces can be divided into 5 categories:

1. Serif: Typefaces commonly associated with tradition, classicism, respectability. Some examples are Times New Roman, Georgia, Garamond;

2. Sans-serif: Minimalist, modern and clean. Typefaces that are stripped of superfluous elements. They get right to the point. Some examples: Helvetica, Arial, Century Gothic;

3. Script: Elaborate, intricate typefaces that often resemble a “handwritten" style. Generally associated with elegance and femininity, these fonts express feelings of closeness and comfort. Examples include Lucida Script, Zapfino, Lobster;

4. Modern: Sleek, simple and straight-forward typefaces, such as Futura, ITC Avant Garde, Klavika.

5. Display. Undoubtedly the most decorative and expressive, given their strong stylistic characteristics, they tend to be used more strategically, such as in logos. Cooper, Fever, TAN - NIMBUS are among some examples.

When choosing a typeface for your brand, you should always keep your digital presence in mind and make sure you answer a few basic questions: (1) would it work online? In other words, would you like to see it on your website, or on your social media posts?; (2) Does it reflect the essence of your brand?; (3) Is it user friendly? These are all valid points to consider, you may find yourself concluding that sometimes what works well on paper, in a static environment, may not necessarily work well in a web environment.

A website’s font deeply impacts a user’s experience. A website is meant to be a bridge between a brand/product/service and its target, if users have difficulty reading the information being presented to them, the website has not done its job.

Jamie Juliver from Hubpost sums this up in a very simple way:

“If a website’s typography works, we won’t notice. If it fails, chances are we’ll bounce off the page”

In general terms, poorly suited typefacescan have a detrimental effect on a website's key performance metrics and compromise its conversion rate.

In addition to being legible, there are number of user experience-based points to consider when choosing a web font for your website:

  • User attention spans. There are a multitude of websites competing for your potential customers' attention, so typography can be a way to stand out from your competitors.
  • Typically, when users enter a website, they have a set of goals they’d like to accomplish. Therefore, it's important that the user is able to obtain everything they’re looking for just by skimming through the website.
  • Accessibility. When choosing a typeface, we must bare in mind that users are not all the same and may respond to text in different ways. Hence, opting for a more neutral font is often a way to guarantee a more accessible website.
  • Responsiveness. The text should be readable across all devices, whether on a cell phone or tablet, the user should read it as well as if he were reading it on a desktop screen.

In short, each typeface tells a story,  therefore choosing one that reflects your brand’s personality is paramount. However, during the decision process, you should always consider whether it will hold up in a web environment and the impact it will consequently have on your brand’s overall digital presence. This is just one piece of the puzzle in ensuring that your website has the best possible results. Find out if your website meets all the requirements of a successful website by reading 5 signs that your website is well done!

Please note, your browser is out of date.
For a good browsing experience we recommend using the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.