Website design is comprised of good copywriting (the words), as well as images and fonts that work together to evoke a feeling in the visitor.

If you pause for a moment to think about websites you like and visit often, you’ll notice that those sites not only have great content, but are designed to make you feel at home there.

Fonts make up a huge part of that design, and that’s what we’re talking about today. 

Given the impact it can have on your website, choosing the right font to communicate to your visitor can seem like a daunting task. Here are some tips on what to think about when you’re choosing fonts for your website.

Maximum 3 fonts

You want to use a maximum of three fonts for your website: one for your header (also known as your masthead), one for the headings and highlighted text on your site, and one for the majority of text on your site.

Actually, it’s maximum 2 fonts

Okay, I lied to your right then. It’s really only just two: one highlight font and one content font.

Unfortunately, when people hear “you should only choose two fonts” they almost immediately forget that they need to take their logo or masthead into consideration.

Don’t do that. Remember it’s all on one page, so it all has to look good together.

The serif/sans-serif equation

Like everything, fonts look best in contrast because it provides diversity to the eye. To maximize this you will want to use a combination of serif and sans-serif fonts.

Serif fonts are those that have little hooks and curves on all the letters. Think Times New Roman (now forget it, because it’s old and overused).

Sans-serif fonts are those without little hooks on all the letters. Think Arial. (But don’t forget it, it’s a classic and looks great when used well.)

There are many different font categories (such as script, engraved, slab serif, transitional, modern and so many more), but they are all variations on serif and sans-serif.

It doesn’t matter which combination of serif and sans-serif fonts you use just as long as what you choose provides enough visual interest (read: difference) for the eye as it moves around the page.

Be different, but not too different

Fonts are incredibly gorgeous and fun, but when you’re choosing something for your website remember that having too much contrast between your fonts can also be a bad thing. If you find and fall in love with an incredible cactus font, you might not want to have that as your headline font, because it’s just a little too much if you know what I mean.

You might be better served by using it in your masthead or logo where it’s okay to be wild, and choose something people will respond better to in the actual content of your website.

Always remember that fonts are for words and those words are meant to be read, so don’t make them hard to read.