Image is hugely important in ecommerce, particularly when compared to brick and mortar retailing. Wandering around a physical store, shoppers can get a feel for the persona you project based upon signage, décor and the personalities of your staff. The look of the site is the only thing first-time shoppers have to go on in ecommerce. A key element of this is the typeface you choose for copy on the site. With that in mind, here’s how to choose the right fonts for your business.
What’s Your Image?
Do you want your business to be perceived as serious, young, luxurious, edgy or mainstream? Whatever your choice, the lettering you choose will telegraph your intention. It is important to take into consideration the nature of your target audience. Are they teens, young adults, professionals, children or parents? Which of their interests do you serve? How do you do so? Answering these questions will help you determine the look you should project.
Font Categories & What They Convey
Typestyles can be divided into one of several categories.
- Serif: This is an example of a Serif font.
- Sans Serif: This is an example of a Sans Serif font.
- Script: This is an example of a Script font.
* Novelty: This is an example of a Novelty font.
As you can see, each style elicits a different tone and feel. The Serif font telegraphs tradition and stability, which is why banks, newspapers, law firms and the like typically choose them. San Serif fonts tend to look more contemporary, so sites wishing to cater to a tech crowd, or a more youthful audience, often adopt them. The Script font conveys elegance, which is why the Cadillac logo is always rendered in Script. Novelty fonts are typically directed at kids and teens.
How Will It Be Employed?
Most designers suggest the use of no more than three different fonts for an ecommerce site. One of the three should be used exclusively for the name of your company. When choosing a typestyle for this purpose, make sure it looks good next to your logo, as the two usually appear together. If you have yet to get one, a number of sites will allow you create a free logo.The second typestyle should be used for headlines and sub headlines, while the third should be employed for body copy.
Because each font has a distinct personality, your choices should be determined by whether you want to be seen as elegant and refined, whimsical and playful, or traditional and formal.
When you’re deciding upon your preferred style, it’s important to keep in mind where it will be used and the relative age of your users. If you’re catering to a young crowd, you can get away with a smaller and thinner font. If you’re going after Baby Boomers, you’re going to need to take vision challenges into consideration. Further, with the rise of mobile computing, you’ll need to keep the fact you have a smaller screen with which to work in mind.
The alphanumeric confusion factor is another consideration. The number 1, the lowercase version of the letter L, and the capital version of the letter i look alike in some Sans Serif typefaces. This could be a problem if you ever need to begin a sentence with the word ill (Ill). Before you settle on a San Serif font, type the three characters next to each other to see if this is will be an issue.
When it comes to how to choose the right fonts for your business, keeping these concerns in mind will help you project the proper image. Making the right choices for your audience will communicate your intentions, enhance your credibility, and give shoppers a feeling of belonging.