Typography is one of the most overlooked elements in web design, yet it can have the most profound effect on the way your brand is perceived (and the way your products are sold). That’s because typography contributes to your website’s first impression, and determines whether or not a visitor will stay to consume your content.
Good web typography is like a good book
If you’ve ever opened up a book you’ve been excited to read, only to find small, hard to read print, you know the pain of poor typography. If you really want to read the book, you’ll suffer through it, but you won’t enjoy it as much as you would have if the typography been smooth.
Consider that when people land on your website, your typography has the same effect on your visitors. They’re either going to be instantly drawn in or they’re going to experience resistance and either struggle through it or leave.
Here are 4 tips to help you decide when and how to use colorful typography on your website so visitors stay and consume your content:
1. Investigate why you want to use certain colors
Black and purple are a beautiful combination. However, just because you like it, doesn’t mean it should be part of your website’s color scheme. Ask yourself why you want to use the colors you’re considering. Is there a reason?
If you’re running a website for kids, it makes sense and can be fun to use a mix of bright colors in your typography. For example, Dinkleboo makes great use of colorful typography that’s attractive to kids.
If you’re launching a website for people to connect with angel investors, however, your colors should be conducive to generating trust. In this case, if you use bright, colorful text, nobody’s going to trust you.
If you’re using any of these color combinations, it’s safe to assume your visitors are bouncing. So as a rule of thumb, unless you have a solid reason to use a specific color for your typography and overall color scheme, you’re better off sticking to neutral colors.
2. Create a test page and run ads to it
The best way to know whether or not your pages are pleasant is to test them through ads. To test colors and typography, create at least 5 different test pages, all with the same content (like a few paragraphs of text) but different color combinations. Send people to those pages through Facebook ads and see how long people stay on each one.
If you want to test your more creative aspects of web typography, this would be the time to do it. There’s nothing wrong with using fancy fonts and bright colors. Plenty of websites use creative typography, but the distinction is it’s legible.
Split test and target your actual demographics
Remember to use the same demographics for your ad sets, preferably your actual target market, and run a split test for your 5 test pages. Also, be sure to make your content interesting and related to what your website is about.
What you’re looking for is the bounce rate and the amount of time visitors spend on your page. This should give you a great indication of whether or not your typography choices are helpful.
3. Understand basic color psychology
The most important aspect of color psychology you should know is that color preferences are very much rooted in culture. For example, in a thorough 3-part series, Smashing Magazine covers all of the colors and points out that red has a different association in the US than it does in China and other Eastern cultures.
In China, red symbolizes prosperity, success, and good luck. That’s why they use red envelopes to place money in during their New Year celebrations. In South Africa, red is the color of mourning. In the US, red can symbolize violence, fire, sensuality, love, and even danger, as stop signs and many warning labels are red.
Once you do some digging to find out how different cultures are affected by certain colors, you can analyze your target market to find out if you might accidentally be using the wrong colors.
4. Know how your target market is affected by colors
If you don’t know how your target market perceives colors, it’s going to be difficult to craft a custom typography set and color scheme to get their attention. And you may be inadvertently driving them away.
You can uncover global statistics regarding color and its affect on different demographics from Colorcom.com. They have a rich database of statistics gathered from people from multiple geographic regions including North America, Asia, Europe, Africa, the Pacific, and the Middle East.
You’re creating the user experience
Typography is at the heart of the user experience you’re providing to your visitors. Finding the perfect typographical color scheme may take a little more effort than you initially planned, but in the end it’s well worth it. You want your website to stand out for its smooth user experience and great content.