It’s quite likely that text will be the most frequently appearing element on a website, so it’s important that you think carefully about the design of it. When designing a website, a common habit is to choose a familiar font and styling and concentrate more on the elements around the text, such as placeholders and attractive images. However it is worth spending time on your text design as this is fundamental to good design and overall aesthetic feel.
Here are a few text guidelines you should consider when styling text on a website.
Text choice – Different fonts communicate messages in different ways, and it only takes a few seconds to give website visitors the right message, so make sure your font does what is should. Different fonts can look modern, retro, corporate, clean, dirty, humours, familiar, warm, cold etc. You should never pick a font just because it’s quirky or fun, as it’s quite likely someone else will just find it irritating or hard to read – try to stay objective.
Text sizes – With different web design trends come different font size trends. A few years back small text was seen to be a good design staple, and with recent Web 2.0 trends we are increasingly seeing larger sizes. Whatever you do remember that the most important thing is to keep your font size proportional, readable, and to ensure that your headings are sized according to desired importance.
Text spacing – Good spacing between text lines allows for your text to ‘breathe’, as well as making it easier to read for your visitors. Having all your text bunched up and small is like reading fine-print on a legal document – hard, irritating, and easy to give up on. If your text flows well for the human eye, then there is more chance that your reader is going to read it all.
Text line length — The key rule here is to not make your lines too long, it’s actually hard work for the eye to scroll a long line of text, and will eventually make your reader skip the text. Follow the technique of newspaper style columns – compact, easy to read and re-find your place.
Text colour – This is dependent on your website colour scheme, but generally you should be looking to have high contrast colours that stand out over your background colour. If you are using a dark background then you should be careful that your text is bright enough to be read, but not glaring. As a rule, you can’t go wrong with bold colours on pastel backgrounds, or simply – black on white.