Until relatively recently, designers and developers were heavily limited in typeface options for use on the Web. From 1996 until around 2008 (when @font-face as a CSS feature became widely implemented in various browsers) most websites were bound to using the 10 or so typefaces freely distributed by Microsoft’s Core Fonts for the Web initiative. These included Arial, Courier New, Comic Sans, Impact, Georgia, Times New Roman, Trebuchet, Webdings and Verdana.
But eight years later designers and developers find themselves in a very different position when it comes to typeface options for web use. The rise of web font services like Adobe Typekit and Google Fonts (as well as Fontdeck and Webtype to a lesser extent) have given designers an overwhelming number of options for typography in web design. Google Fonts and Typekit host more than 2,000 fonts (not including weight variations) combined, allowing for almost limitless options when it comes to choosing typefaces for the web.
Though the options for fonts on the web are huge, in the last few years we tend to see a saturation of the same typefaces used over and over again in web design. Once designers find a typeface that is trendy, legible and works well for a variety of clients, it can become almost default to turn to. In 2015 we saw the trend of using highly-legible, geometric sans-serif fonts that reduce to small sizes easily (a prerequisite for any good webfont with the proliferation of responsive web design and growing mobile first mindset) all over the web.
Here are some of the most used fonts on the web in 2015:
Don’t expect the overall style to change much in 2016 – geometric sans-serif fonts aren’t going anywhere any time soon. However, there are a lot of beautiful typefaces for web that haven’t reached the saturation point of those listed above. Below is our list of webfonts for 2016 that will add a unique element and help set your site apart from the rest.
1. Abril Fatface (Available free, Google Fonts, Typekit)
2. Monserrat (Available free, Google Fonts)
3. Work Sans (Available free, Google Fonts)
4. Lato (Available free, Google Fonts, Typekit)
5. Poppins (Available free, Google Fonts)
Jeff Williams is an SEO Project Manager at Fruition based in Denver, Colorado. Jeff uses his deep understanding of SEO and internet marketing to guide clients, optimize websites and ultimately improve search rankings.
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