Web design consists of a small number of top-line features that get most of the attention from both site owners and everyday visitors, plus a large number of features that are potential impactful despite being fairly easy to overlook. Typography is one of the items in the latter category, and although it is low on the list of priorities in most online marketing campaigns, it represents a large and growing wealth of options for differentiating a given brand’s web design from that of its competitors.

You might not be aware of this if you’ve owned a site for a long time but you aren’t up to date on developments in the web design industry. Even just several years ago, most sites were limited to a small handful of web-stable fonts. But more recently, there has been a series of technological developments that makes fonts broadly available to web designers and their clients while also virtually guaranteeing that any browser or device will display them properly.

Of course, in the interest of reflexive web design, it’s always a good idea to test assumptions about display across different platforms. But as long as your web design team runs such tests with each revision, it is also potentially a good idea to experiment with new or off-the-beaten-track fonts, so your website avoids looking like it is stuck in the past, while also finding a way to stand apart from the crowd.

You can be forgiven for thinking that a simple change of font doesn’t necessarily have that significant an impact on people’s perceptions of your brand. But you could make the same argument regarding any individual web design component, and if you don’t start to question that thinking you could end up defending the most generic template-based web design for what might otherwise be a highly distinctive brand. No individual web design component should define that brand, but all of them should fit together as part of a single aesthetic, with font choice playing a special role in assuring continuity between design and written content.

As this blog has said regarding other web design components like color scheme and geometric layout, it’s easy to underestimate how many things help to shape a visitor’s perception of a brand after they’re noticed on a purely unconscious level. If were to open a word processor right now and pick a font at random, you might not have a strong opinion about how good or bad it looks, but if you really look at it closely, you’ll likely find that it gives you certain impressions, which could influence the way you read whatever’s typed in that font.

In fact, that’s a worthwhile exercise whether you are personally interested in web design or you are just looking for a web design company to do the heavy lifting for you. In either case, it may be beneficial for you to approach a new design project with a basic understanding of which fonts convey ideas like professionalism or playfulness, modernity or antiquity. From that starting point, your or a web design team can explore similar options that are currently available on the web and then agree upon one that really helps you to convey the message you want, not just with the meaning of a website’s words but also with their shape, boldness, and spacing.