Do you want to create your own online store?

Picture of a phone with Shopify software

Start Your Business with Shopify

Try Shopify for free, and explore all the tools and services you need to start, run, and grow your business.

The best fonts for business websites

A person writing ‘welcome’ in a relaxed calligraphy style on brown paper. Text on websites must be clear and readable to successfully sell a product or service.

Your business needs a fully functioning and easy-to-use website. Consumers are used to looking up information freely online, and easily finding everything they need about a business's product, service, or operations.

Because of that, a website's design is incredibly important. A poorly designed site will leave customers more confused than enlightened. One key element of a website's design is the choice of fonts or typefaces used for its body and header text—all the copy has to be clear and readable. This article aims to help business owners understand this particular element of a website’s design and choose the right fonts for their site.

What are the basics of website typefaces?

There are a couple of things business owners need to know when deciding on typefaces and fonts for their website.

Ranking fonts

The most important thing business owners need to keep in mind is that a website should use no more than three main fonts for titles, body text, and special accents.

  • Primary font – The most visible font, which should be used in headers, banners, and titles (large text).
  • Secondary font – Used for smaller body text. This should be the most readable font.
  • Accent font – Used for special items on the website, such as buttons. This can be the font used on the brand logo.

The three main categories

The second thing they need to know is that there are only three typeface classifications that can be used for website text.

  • Serif – With small lines at the end of strokes called serifs. Good for primary, secondary, or accent.
  • Sans-serif – Clean-looking fonts without the serifs. Also good for any of the three font ranks.
  • Scripts – Fonts that look like human handwriting. Usually best for primary and accent fonts.

Frequently asked questions about fonts for websites

What’s the most important thing in choosing a typeface or font?

Readability. The most important consideration is always readability, whether looking at the font for a header, a button or the body of a blog post. If a customer cannot read the text on the website, they will not want to buy the product or use the service.

After readability, you should consider your brand's identity and personality. Is it casual or sophisticated? Economical or more luxurious? Different sans-serif and serif typefaces can communicate your brand’s personality to customers and appeal to your target market.

Will free fonts be enough for my website?

While they may open up more design possibilities, websites generally don’t need any fancy or custom-made fonts. The most important thing is to ensure the typeface you use is easy to read, and that it aligns with your brand’s image. Given the range of free fonts available, it is almost certain that you’ll find one that meets those criteria, without having to pay for a custom font.

Can I pay for a typeface if I want to?

As accent typefaces may be the font used in the brand’s logo, you may have already bought a custom-made typeface for this purpose. But it is recommended to limit that to the accent or even the primary fonts, as these fonts are typically more difficult to read at small sizes and over longer sections of text.

The 5 best typefaces for websites

Here are five free typefaces to choose from that would be great for websites.

Avenir

This font was designed by Adrian Frutiger in 1987.

For websites that need a no-nonsense, modern, and minimalist look, a good sans-serif typeface like Avenir will do the trick. Avenir is highly geometric and made for long blocks of text, perfect for primary, secondary, and even accent fonts.

Garamond

Garamond is a classic family of typeface from a style made in the 15th century.

For websites wanting to exude an air of refinement, sophistication, and elegance, one can’t go wrong with a serif typeface like Garamond. The Garamond shown here is Adobe Garamond Pro, standard in almost all computers, and works best as a primary or secondary font.

Haettenschweiler

This font is rendered in the heavy grotesque style.

For websites that need a solid primary font for banners and titles, a heavy typeface like Haettenschweiler is ideal. It’s not the best choice for a secondary font as it's challenging to read for extended text but pops off the page for larger copy.

Bodoni

Bodoni is also an old style of typeface designed in the 18th century.

Websites looking for a luxurious-looking typeface for their headers and titles, as well as accents, will do well to use the classic Bodoni typeface, generally used in many magazines and brand logos. Bodoni feels like a serif version of grotesque typefaces, retaining that same "aggressive" perception they have—with the added benefit of also being usable as a secondary font.

Mistral

Mistral is a classic script font designed in the 1950s.

For websites that need a more personal touch on their text, a good script typeface like Mistral is widely available. This classic typeface, which most people are likely familiar with even without realizing, is best for titles and even accent fonts, although not for secondary fonts. If a designer is going with a script typeface, it has to be readable and the letters unambiguous.

Easy-to-create business websites

These considerations for the website's design will be half the battle in selling the product and service. Once that’s all figured out, creating an online store and business site on Shopify is simple and easy. For a monthly fee, you can start, market, and manage your business on a platform that helps you do everything you need to build your brand online.

 


Topics: