How to select the right font every time

Ninety-five percent of web design is actually typography, according to Information Architects. If that’s true then it’s time to take a second look at fonts.

Many media companies have their own signature typefaces like Bloomberg‘s bold sans-serif font, sometimes used in all caps, or CNN‘s black-on-white sans-serif font that differs from the font used in its trademark outlined logo. On the other hand, a large number of newspapers like The Boston Globe and The New York Times use a variation of the old-school traditional gothic font in both their print and online banners.

Despite the availability of thousands of fonts to choose from, there are only a few that are web-safe, or will appear correctly on the majority of modern computers. These include Times/Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, Palatino, Garamond, Tahoma and Verdana.

Others like IMPACT and Comic Sans are also common among most computer operating systems, but are rarely seen in a professional online news setting. Visit Font Tester for a complete list of web-safe fonts.

To visualize which fonts are already installed on your computer, check out Font Picker, a handy online tool will display them side by side. If you have the option to use newer, fancier fonts, you can download a huge selection for free at sites like or Both offer custom previews of the font before they are downloaded.

It’s easy to spend hours searching for the perfect font for a particular project. Therefore, it is helpful to have an idea of the font before beginning the search. If you still can’t find the font you’re looking for and have the creativity and a little bit of time, try using FontStruct to create your own custom font.

Also on 10,000 Words:

10 Reasons why online news sites suck
What color is the news? How to pick the right colors for your site
How to design for a computer other than your own