Making of a Web App: Choose a Font

Making of a Web App is Synap Software’s step-by-step look at designing and developing a web app. This is the eight article in the series. In this article we get a little bit ahead of ourselves and talk about choosing fonts. Key points:

  • Fonts reinforce an application’s personality.
  • Fonts reinforce the attributes of an application.
  • PlaybookIQ’s personality is “friendly” and its primary attribute is “simple”.
  • The Swiss Style fits perfectly.

People dedictate careers to the study and development of fonts and font styles. This entry is not a study of fonts, but a quick entry about general font choices for PlaybookIQ.

First, Understand the App

Refer to the “personality” you desire for the application, as well as the attributes of the application you wish to reinforce.

Simplicity

For “simplicity” there is no better place to look than the International Typographic Style, also known as the Swiss Style. Developed in Switzerland in the 1950s, this style is known for a clean, simple, and easy look. Features include:

  • asymmetric layouts
  • use of a grid
  • sans-serif typefaces
  • left justified/ragged-right text

By trial-and-error we have choosen Century Gothic and Geneva for the primary fonts. Combined with a grid layout and left-justified text, this makes for a clean look that lets users know they should expect an easy experience.

Here are some other tips for choosing a font for a web application.

Corporate

Fun, Youthful

Want more than ‘because it looks good?’

Take a look at Michael Bierut’s article on deeper aspects to consider when choosing a font. One of these “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Typeface” may appeal to you.