I’m a programmer and a beginner in graphic design. When learning design, I found it very hard for me to decide which font to use in my website. In fact, when viewing separately(i.e. not in a side-by-side view), I think most fonts are identical to each other!
I’ve browsed many examples, only to found that their CSS font stacks tend to contain 4 or more fonts, which effectively overwhelms me, and presumably other starters.
So, I’m asking for some recommendations here: is there any any general-purpose font which can be used by design beginners safely? Here, “safe” means “not making a website ridiculously ugly or illegible”.
To make my question more specific, the font I’m looking for should be:
- Free to use.
- General-purpose. It must be (at least partially) suitable to most projects.
- Web safe. Ideally it should have already been installed on most devices.
- Novel. Classic fonts, such as (Sans) Serif, are nice, but they are used at so many places that users are starting to get bored with them.
Before giving you a specific font recommendation, I’ll give you some things to look for in a font if you want it to become your go-to font.
- It should be legible. Look for a font that works well in a variety of sizes and weights, in black over white and iverse.
- It should come in a variety of styles– look for a family that has several weights, widths, that has italics. This will give you versatility of having contrast for titles or interface elements within the same family. If you find a family that has both sans-serif and serif, so much better
- It should be fairly neutral This goes against what you talk about in point number 4, but the more “personality”/novelty a font has, the more likely it is that it will not be suitable for some projects
That being said, let me recommend a few families that fit these criteria:
Hardly original, but it is a great family, with lots of weights, good language support, even a narrow version.
Source Sans Pro
Amazing typeface, especially for interface design, also has a companion serif font
Quite sober, but super legible font, with lots of variations and again, a matching serif