Web Typography

Convey meaning
Type conveys meaning, both in the obvious sense that words and sentences communicate, and in the subtler sense that the particular visual representation we use — the style, size, and so on — affects the message. While a computer might care only which ASCII codes are represented, we humans are affected by associations and visual relationships: To us, Helvetica means something different than Garamond.
Type also affects communication in the straightforward sense of legibility. If I can't read your text, I certainly can't understand it, no matter how clever your writing may be.


Your choice of typeface can either undercut your desired meaning or it can support and extend it. When we see "HAL 9000" set in Data 70 — a typeface designed in 1970 to look like futuristic computer output — the idea of HAL, the misguided computer from Kubrick's 2001: A Space Oddyssey, is communicated both in the semantic meaning of the words and in the visual, associational meaning of the letterforms. The visual and semantic meanings coincide, making each stronger. When we see the same words in the whimsical Art Nouveau face Hobo, our brains have to work to ignore the visual meaning conveyed by the typeface in order to comprehend the semantic meaning contained in the word.

Line height
Line height — the measure of the space between lines of text — can likewise have a significant impact on readability. If lines are too close together, it is difficult to keep the eyes on the current line. Too much space, on the other hand, and it becomes difficult to move from one to the next.

 

Line length
There are many opinions of optimum line length (the number of characters per line), but the ideal length is often determined in part by secondary factors such as size. The main issue for the reader is the disruption of having to go from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. When lines are too long this can be quite difficult because of the sheer distance the eye has to travel. On the other hand,
if lines are set
extremely short,
the reader will
have to switch
lines much more
often. It's considered ideal to keep lines to somewhere around 60 or 70 characters (including punctuation and spaces), but anything from about 40 to 80 characters is generally reasonable. And for small amounts of text, significantly shorter lines can be OK.

 

Weight
The weight (the thickness of the strokes) of a typeface can also affect legibility. A very light face may be difficult to distinguish from the background, while heavy strokes may make letter shapes less distinct, especially at smaller sizes where apertures begin to close up.

 

Serifs vs Sans-serifs
On the low resolution of computer screens, serifs often serve only to muddy already indistinct letterforms.

Serif (Times New Roman... -3): How quickly draft jumpimg zebras. How quickly draft jumpimg zebras.
Sans-serif (Arial, -3): How quickly draft jumpimg zebras. How quickly draft jumpimg zebras.

Serif (Georgia... -3): How quickly draft jumpimg zebras. How quickly draft jumpimg zebras.
Sans-serif (Verdana, -3): How quickly draft jumpimg zebras. How quickly draft jumpimg zebras.

Serif (Georgia... -2): How quickly draft jumpimg zebras. How quickly draft jumpimg zebras.
Sans-serif (Verdana... -2): How quickly draft jumpimg zebras. How quickly draft jumpimg zebras.

Serif (Georgia... -1): How quickly draft jumpimg zebras. How quickly draft jumpimg zebras.
Sans-serif (Verdana... -1): How quickly draft jumpimg zebras. How quickly draft jumpimg

Serif (Georgia... none): How quickly draft jumpimg zebras. How quickly draft jumpim
Sans-serif (Verdana... none): How quickly draft jumpimg zebras. How quickl

The above information is taken from the Website http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/index.html and the article http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/design/fonts/tutorials/tutorial3.html

Design Considerations
The use of appropriate fonts can enhance the the design of your Web page. When selecting a font for your site, remember that text can help convey a feeling or set a mood but ultimately it's purpose is to be read.
Here are a few tips to help you make wise design decisions:
1. Shorter blocks of text are more easily read.
2. Not enough contrast makes text difficult to read.
3. Limiting the number of fonts on a site will give it a cleaner, more professional design.
4. If you are designing on a Mac, be aware that there may be less contrast between text and backgrounds on a PC - making text illegible to PC us ers..
5. If you are designing on a PC, keep in mind that Macs display text at a smaller size - making text illegible to Mac users.

The above information is taken from the Website http://webdesign.about.com/library/weekly/aa011900b.htm