Apr 04, 2014

How to select the best font for a website?

As anyone who has watched the fascinating documentary on Helvetica knows, the choice of font for anything written is important. Is there any objective measurement of font legibility for use in website design? Of course, legibility is only part of the equation; some fonts look terrible (comic sans for example) and no matter how easy to read would make a poor impression for a business oriented website. Any suggestions?

I like Arial, I find it to be very readable. I also use it in size 16 on my blogs, it makes it easier for the readers to read the articles. But you might want to try a number of fonts to really see which one you prefer to use.

Don’t forget that size also matters. Studies have shown that larger fonts increase reading accuracy, but you don’t want your website to look like a child’s board book with huge letters. Try to find the happy medium, and avoid tiny font/size like the plague. Also, higher resolution screens make marginal fonts more legible, but you can’t assume everyone has a “retina” display.


One study I looked at (and there are plenty more if you do a little searching), indicated that the fonts with the highest subjective ratings were Arial 9.75 and MS San Serif 9.75. Both of these fonts also tested well for objective measurement of reading accuracy, with Arial performing slightly better. Don't take this as the definitive choice though - the study only compared a handful of different fonts.

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