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We humans have been drawing, sketching, and writing since prehistoric times. Historians have found drawing on cave-walls that date back 40,000 years. The urge of expressing oneself is evident from the El Castillo caves to Rembrandt, Von Gogh, and Sadequain. The art of telling tales through pictures, letters and abstract figures has been utilized throughout human history.
Modern times however, have changed the way we express ourselves. We tweet, post on Facebook, share pictures on Instagram and write blogs on the web. Different apps and web sites add aesthetic value by selecting different font styles that are pleasing to the viewer while remaining practical and readable. This art-form is known as typography.
Certain academic standards define strict rules to follow a certain font style while writing academic research papers, essays, and book reports. When it comes to web sites there are no particular rules but there is a common understanding, a common sense you might say. A designer may not use “Comic Sans MS” as a font style. This has quickly become a running joke amongst the design community.
The catchphrase from the movie “Good Will Hunting” has nothing to do with the context of this paragraph. Yet, it has power to grab people’s attention due to a mix of eye catching font-style and metaphorical nature. Typography has been playing a vital role in developing people’s experiences and engaging them appropriately. The concepts for designing a website are changing rapidly as designers are experimenting and mixing trends with modern day technology.
A decade ago, a website full of text with “Times New Roman” font-style with size “12” was considered viable web design practice. However things have changed a lot since then and web designers are more inclined towards simplistic and flat designs as we have seen in the last year. By the way, the font-style used in the heading of this paragraph is the default font-style used by Apple in its iOS 7 to strengthen its flat design approach.
For years, filling websites with text in readable font-style was considered good enough. The standard changed quickly as search engines emphasized the importance of unique and related content. Copywriters changed their approach with concise, precise and related content and web designers used different font-styles and font-types to improve visibility and readability in their web designs.
Have you experienced the new simplistic web site by Apple? They use a flat design with a simplistic approach, but have you noticed the large font-sizes to emphasize certain words with different font-style and font-types? Consider the example of Coopertype, take away all the exceptional typography and you are left with a dull website design with lots of white space, but as you can clearly see, the selection of font-style and font-type marks its effect over the presentation of the website. It is certainly more than a facelift.
Excess of anything never benefits anyone. So if you are planning to perform a little facelift for your existing website design consider using different typography and you may find an impressive change in the overall website design without changing the layout of the basic template. However keep in mind certain font-style and size may require a complete overhaul of the layout. At the same time you don’t want to turn your website into an Amazon forest, filled with large and bold fonts. This will only create mayhem and might spoil the message you want to deliver to your customers. The concise and readable sentences will look better rather than huge alphabets covering the folds.
From ancient cave-walls to painting and calligraphic genius of our age, the art of representing information, creativity, and innovation is improving day by day. Typography is a wonderful addition to your digital presence. Use it wisely and your website might emulate the likes of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch.