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Did you know that typefaces actually have the ability to affect the way your readers think? And, while style and branding are important, they are not the only factors you should be considering when choosing fonts for your business site. Here are a few important questions to ask yourself on how to select business fonts.

“How many fonts do I need?”

There’s no tried-and-true rule that determines how many fonts you’ll need on your site. Instead, the number of fonts you choose should be based more on the visual hierarchy of a particular page. This hierarchy alerts your readers’ eyes to the level of importance each section of your site holds. (Of course, all of it is important, so consider this hierarchy as more of an organizational tool. Think about what sized fonts and structure will help your visitor through his/her experience.) In terms of specific numbers, a blog post that features a title, subheadings, and blocks of text may only call for two or three fonts.

Keep things as orderly as you want your business to be perceived. If you’re stuck, ask a friend – or better yet, a stranger – to check out your site and its set-up, and then ask them if they found it easy on the eyes … or an eyesore.

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“Should I use Serif or Sans Serif?”

Some designers assume that the same fonts they use for printed copy will be just as effective on a website. This is a common mistake. Keep in mind that more and more folks are visiting sites from their smartphones and tablets. Just because your “cool, funky” font looks great on a laptop, does not mean it will look as good on another device – even if your site is responsive.

Serif fonts, such as Times New Roman and Georgia, are best for printed works, but web experts say sans serif fonts are best for web copy. For serif fonts to have the same online readability as sans serif fonts, they need to be displayed at a larger size or at very high resolutions, which isn’t always possible on older monitors or smaller mobile screens.

For professional online copy, use a:

sans serif font (e.g., Arial 12-point) for general print.
sans serif font (e.g., Verdana 10-point) for smaller print.
simple serif font (e.g., Georgia 12-point) for a more professional look.

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“What’s the best way to use text effects?”

Text effects are an excellent way to make words, phrases, titles, and subheadings stand out. Here are a few popular ones – and the pros and cons with using them:

Pro: Great for making your hyperlinks look more clickable and enticing.
Con: Too many different colors and too many hyperlinks, will have your readers clicking their SPAM button.

Pro: Great for titles, subheadings, and important key phrases.
Con: Too much bold will confuse your readers, and leave them wondering what “isn’t” important.

Pro: Great for emphasizing words and phrases.
Con: Depending on your font size and your readers’ devices, italics are not always easy to read.

The running theme here is to use text effects sparingly. As someone once said, “When in doubt, do without.”

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Learning the psychology behind typeface, fonts, and text effects will help you build a professional website that doesn’t sacrifice your brand’s personality. The keys are knowing how you want your brand to be perceived, providing a simple, flowing customer experience, and grasping the fact that less is more.

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