Do you remember the early days of Microsoft Word and other programs? We had so much fun choosing from a gazillion fonts for things like documents, brochures, fliers, and websites! We used everything from goofy Comic Sans to old-fashioned fonts that looked like letters made on a typewriter, not giving a lot of thought to whether these fonts were “right” or not. It was fun…though not always easy to read, and often we got carried away with mixing and matching.

Fast forward about 20-30 years and you’ll find that using ay old font and mixing fonts together isn’t always a good idea anymore, especially where websites are concerned. As a matter of fact, things like Google Fonts habe become critical in web design, according to today’s most successful website builders.

What is Google Fonts?

Google Fonts is actually not new. It was launched in 2010 as Google Web Fonts and is a collection of interactive application programming interfaces that allow users to use web fonts on their website. This service is hosted by Google, and all the fonts and bandwidth are free. These fonts are not installed locally on an individual computer but are used over the internet and work in your browser.

There are over 1,000 Google Fonts available for free at this time. That’s a lot of choices, and making the right selection(s) can mean the difference between having a successful website and having one that doesn’t attract or even repels customers or clients.

 

Why Use Google Fonts?

Probably the best and easiest reason for using Google Fonts is that its free. You’ll pay nothing. Zilch. Nada. It can’t get better than that!

Secondly, Google Fonts is maintained and delivered to the user by Google, a company that we’ve all come to trust. That means you don’t need to worry about them being safe and you can avoid the dangers of downloading fonts/files from a less-than-reputable website.

In addition, there are no licensing restrictions with Google Fonts. Those 1,000+ fonts are all open source and are free to use on your website or any other commercial projects. That means you can use them in print publications, download them, or embed them in your site. Most other fonts that are advertised as “free” actually involve licensing restrictions which can make using them complicated and not secure.

Google Fonts and web design

Google Fonts has truly become critical in web design, so if you’re looking for a website builder, it’s important to employ designers that understand this. Or, if you’re building your website on your own, you need to educate yourself on the importance of Google Fonts to the success of your website.

Consider this. You’ve done a lot of print marketing and you really like those pieces. You find the fonts attractive and you like the overall design. However, if you try to stick to obscure fonts from older brochures or other print marketing materials, it’s likely you’ll be doing yourself a great disservice.

Here’s what happens: If your users’ laptops don’t have that font from your print materials that you’ve insisted on using for your website, their browsers will SUBSTITUTE the font – and mess with your intended layout and design. At the very least, your website won’t look the way you intended it to look and, in extreme cases, it’ll be practically unreadable. Google fonts solves this problem.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you simply need to toss what you loved about those print publications. Google Fonts offers more than 1,000 options (with numbers growing annually), so you’re sure to find something very similar.

As such, at Watershed9, when we design a new site, we refer to existing materials and then “stay safe” with Google fonts that reflect earlier design choices. This way, you’re hanging on to your “brand” but in a way that will work for both you and your clients.

What should you look for in Google Fonts?

It’s important to choose a Google Font that’s right for your project because good typography can mean the difference between someone hanging around your site to learn more or leaving it because it’s unattractive and difficult to read and/or navigate.

Your website expert will look for the following when choosing your font:

  • Something that matches your brand and fits the personality of your company/business.
  • You also don’t want a font that’s wacky and wild or even too archaic. Readability is important and so is an appearance of It’s important to artfully combine the two.
  • You’ll want your font to convey the mood of your website. For example, if you sell vintage clothing, something in an old-fashioned, easy-to-read script might be right for you. On the other hand, it you own an IT business, something with a more techy vibe will be most suitable.

 

Google helps with this by telling you a little something about each font. For example, for the font know as Send Flowers, you’ll see this blurb: “Send Flowers is a mono-weight script font with clean connecting strokes and a highly legible style. It has a cute look, but since it is a cursive, it has a bit more sophistication that is appropriate for an older audience. It’s old school juvenile, with a delicate appeal.”

The site-building professionals at Watershed9 are eager to educate you about Google Fonts and choosing the correct fonts for your website. We’ll work with you to find those that reflect your brand and personality and appeal to your customers. For more information on this and other aspects of website design, contact us at 604-337-1449.