How to Choose the Right Typeface for Your Website

Five Factors to Consider

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4. Know your budget (financial and performance).

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Financial Budget

Ultimately, your typeface choices will come down to your budget. Typefaces have varying price points. The price can depend on whether you choose to host the font files or use a hosting service. As you may know, webfonts are different file formats (.woff2, .woff) than formats used on your operating system (.ttf, .otf).

Every designer or distributor has a different pricing model, though they are generally easy to understand and compare. Here are four popular models:

Performance Budget

Your other budget consideration is the performance budget. Tim Kadlec describes it as follows:

A performance budget is just what it sounds like: you set a “budget” on your page and do not allow the page to exceed that. This may be a specific load time, but it is usually an easier conversation to have when you break the budget down into the number of requests or size of the page.

Make your developers and visitors happy by establishing a performance budget. If your site feels fast, it improves a visitor’s experience and overall impression of your brand. The file-size limitation forces you to make deliberate typeface choices, improving the overall consistency and quality of your design.

5. Look for fonts designed to perform well on screen.

Fonts render differently on Apple and Windows devices. To combat this, type foundries undergo a thorough process called manual hinting, greatly improving rendering on Windows. As high density pixel screens become more prevalent, hinting will become less important.

To cover your bases, check your site on a range of browsers and devices, or use BrowserStack. A few foundries offering high-quality webfonts:

Graphic designer Bonnie Siegler said it best: “Your choice of typeface is as important as what you do with it.” With so many great foundries, resources, and tools out there, your options are almost endless. I hope this article provides a foundation for experimenting with new typefaces in your own work.

For more type tips, check out talks and writing by Stephen Coles, Jessica Hische, Indra Kupferschmid, and Dan Mall. This article is greatly indebted to their generous contributions to design criticism and education.

This is the third part in a three-part series that originally appeared in a slightly different form on ExpandTheRoom's Medium channel.