Basic guidelines for choosing fonts

I find web design enormously difficult.  I like to approach work in an organized way and I don’t see the method that designers use, though they must have one.

I was enormously relieved then to find a list of rough guidelines on the Adaptive Themes blog originally taken from Smashing Magazine.  Rephrased — here they are.

Serif and Sans-Serif  Fonts?

  • Sans-serif fonts, i.e., fonts such as Arial that have no serifs or flourishes at the end of letters, are still more popular than serif fonts such as Times New Roman.
  • The more common rule-of-thumb is that we should use sans-serif fonts because they are easier to read on the web and serif fonts when we are presenting on paper.
  • The second rule-of-thumb is to use the opposite type of font for the headings.

Headlines

  • Popular choices for headlines are Georgia, Arial and Helvetica.
  • Popular size for headline fonts range between 18 and 29 pixels.
  • Header font sizes are typical 1.96 times the size of the body font.

Body Text

  • Popular choices for the body of the text are Georgia, Arial, Verdana and Lucida Grande.
  • Typical sizes for the body font are 12 to 14 pixels.
  • The line height for the body text is typically 1.48 times the font size in pixels.

Paragraph spacing

The spacing between paragraphs is typically set at 0.754 the line height in pixels.

Characters per line

The optimal number of characters per line is between 55 and 75.  75 to 85 characters per line is more popular.

Alignment

The body text is usually aligned left.

Images

Image replacement is rarely used.

Links

Links are underlined or highlighted with bold or color.

 

 

 

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