Type-centric website designs don’t need to be barebones or boring—executed well, the sites can be functional and beautiful and as creative as any other site. Plus, there are huge perks to having a type-focused design:
- Ease of maintenance: Since the type is web-based (not contained within images), you can easily edit and update it.
- Lower cost: Because sites like this are easier to maintain, they cost less to own. Site owners will appreciate this as they maintain the site over the coming years.
- Better for SEO: The text on these sites is easy to index, giving you real search engine optimization benefits. This helps you maximize traffic to the site without additional work.
Done well, using web-safe fonts as the focus of your site design is not only practical but extremely beautiful. I find it really refreshing how beautiful good, old-fashioned text on the web can look these days. On we go to the 15 great examples of web typography:
This first example is definitely minimalist, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. A restrained use of color and type results in a gorgeous site that’s dead simple to use. The site clearly communicates the company’s personality and work.
Get a better understanding of user experience design with today’s live design tutorial How to Define the ‘User’ in User Experience, presented by Jose Caballer.
The MING Group website has very little in the way of supporting graphics: The focus is on the text. Normally designs like this tend to feel forgettable to me, but this one has a dash of awesome sauce that makes it stand out. I love the animated rollovers on the home page and the smooth drop-down menu. These simple things help the design feel fluid and perfectly polished.
This is by far the simplest and most minimal of all these site designs. There isn’t an overwhelming framework for the site. Instead, a very straightforward design sets the text-based content at the forefront. But the design isn’t simple or ignored; the text is polished to perfection and a work of art all in its own.
Microsites like this are a fantastic place to put web-based type to work. Products like this tend to need updates frequently, and having a site that’s simple to tweak is important. Why burden yourself with a design that’s time-consuming to update? No need when type can be this tasty.
This creative agency’s site has more of a standard design—it’s more visually rich and relies on extra images. But still the vast majority of the text in the site is web-based. This means the site not only looks great, but it can easily be updated and maintained and it’ll have a longer lifespan.
This site has marvelous hierarchy: If you scan this site, it’s easy to understand the different levels of importance in the content. This ensures users can quickly absorb the main points of the site and dig into the ones that matter most to them.
The text is gorgeous and beautifully styled—it has an almost print-like quality. Frankly, I had to double check whether this site’s text was image based. But as it turns out, the only image-based text is in the main logo. The supporting visuals make the site a gorgeous container for content to live in.
This beautiful example demonstrates that text-centric design isn’t just for designers. This site caters to a diverse audience, and its text-based design lets the site’s visitors find the information they need. On sites like this, it can be tempting to create overly thematic designs. But this site demonstrates how functional such a site can be when it focuses on communication and elegance instead.
If an agency claims to have “Interactive Superheroes,” it only stands to reason that they would embrace the medium they work with. This beautifully styled site is firmly rooted in basic web elements and makes no effort to distract from its roots. However, the typography used clearly demonstrates their visual skills and how perfectly they meld them with the web. Seems like a good sales pitch to me.
All the text in this site is web-based except for the title. It has a poster-like quality with its center-aligned layout; the end result is a site that’s simple and to the point. It feels totally natural and totally cool.
In this typography collection, this site is by far the most decorative example. The contents of the page are rendered in multiple fonts, but it’s all entirely web text. That ensures the text will get indexed in search engines and can be tweaked or modified at a moment’s notice.
This site has to change whenever the company releases new themes. Instead of relying on visuals that must be generated for each new product, they went with an easy-to-update type-focused design.
Considering that the site focuses on fashion, it’s surprising that it heavily relies on text for its design. While the design does include some images, the vast majority of the content is pure text.
A common place to find the text-centric approach is in the software industry, and it’s a great match. The simple layout helps the site focus on the product, and the web-based text makes it easy for the site to grow with the company.
For the web portfolio of an individual who specializes in front-end code and design, it makes so much sense to leverage the most fundamental elements in powerful ways. The type is of course web-based, but it feels anything but plain.
MORE RESOURCES FOR WEB TYPOGRAPHY:
- Check out the NEW! HOW Design University Web Type course with Patrick McNeil!
- And don’t forget about MyDesignShop.com, where books, webinars and other materials live to scratch your interactive (font) itch.
- Jason Cranford Teague’s on-demand design tutorial, 6 Steps to Better Web Typography
- Above the Fold—Understanding the principles of successful web design by Brian Miller