Before google fonts was an industry standard, many of us used Microsoft Word to make our font choices. We had so much fun choosing from a gazillion fonts for documents, brochures, flyers, and websites! We used everything from goofy Comic Sans to old-fashioned fonts that looked like letters made on a typewriter. We were 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 an old font and mixing fonts isn’t always a good idea anymore, especially where websites are concerned. According to today’s most successful website builders, things like Google Fonts have become critical in web design.
What is Google Fonts?
Google Fonts is 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 websites. Google hosts this service, 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 proper 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?
The best and most straightforward reason for using Google Fonts is that it’s 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 we’ve all come to trust. That means you don’t need to worry about them being safe. 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. You can use them in print publications, download them, or embed them on your site. Most other fonts advertised as “free” involve licensing restrictions. This makes using them complicated and not secure.
Google Fonts and web design
Google Fonts has become critical in web design. So if you’re looking for a website builder, it’s essential to employ designers that understand this. 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 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 print marketing materials, you’ll likely be doing yourself a great disservice.
Here’s what happens: If the 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. This will mess with your intended layout and design. At the very least, your website won’t look how you intended it to look. In extreme cases, it’ll be practically unreadable. Google Fonts solves this problem.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you need to toss what you love 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. We 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 you and your clients.
What should you look for in Google Fonts?
It’s essential 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 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 wacky and wild font or even too archaic. Readability is important, and so is appearance. It’s important to combine the two artfully.
- You’ll want your font to convey the mood of your website. For example, something in an old-fashioned, easy-to-read script would work if you sell vintage clothing.
- On the other hand, if you own an IT business, something with a more techy vibe would be up your alley.
Google helps with this by telling you a little something about each font. For example, you’ll see this blurb for the font known as Send Flowers: “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 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.