Choosing the Right Typography for Your Medical Website

Design Professional at laptop computer with wording "typography layout"

An attractive, well-designed website is the hallmark of any good medical marketing. From the layout of your website to the images you use to the language in your copy, every component of your website serves a purpose.

The first purpose of your website is to serve as the first impression to your customers. Your website is often the first thing people will notice about your business. An attractive website that’s easy to navigate will tell people that your business is one that’s trustworthy and takes pride in what it does. A website that’s frustrating and put together with little thought and strategy will tell people that your medical practice doesn’t take enough pride in what they do and who they serve to invest in quality medical website design.

One component of medical marketing that people don’t think about is the typography used on a website. Think about different products you use and how various brands use font.

A beer is going to use a font that’s edgy and says that it promises a good time. A multi-billion dollar corporation is going to use a font that communicates that it is strong and capable. And a kid’s day care might use one that’s colorful and fun. Each brand uses a font and color scheme that communicates the essence of their company and brand.

What is brand essence?

 

Designer at desk with tablet, note pad and color swatches planning out their medical website design

 

Your brand essence is the heart and soul of your brand. It’s the constant that you carry throughout your products, how your staff interacts with patients, and what you stand for as a business. It usually can be said in three words, and in medical marketing might look something like, “quality, integrity, compassion.”

It’s whatever you want your practice to be known for.

What is typography?

Typography is the art of arranging type – letters and characters. How you arrange those letters in website design for medical professionals can tell visitors can send different messages to visitors to your website.

The height, thickness, point size, line length, and spacing all play a role in typography arrangement. In the past, people would arrange letters physically, but thanks to today’s computers, open source fonts, and photo editing tools arranging typography is much easier.

What’s so important about typography?

Typography makes a big impact through little changes. The spacing between letters and thickness of letters can impact how easy your content is to read on smaller screens. For example, Helvetica Neue was used by Apple prior to switching to an in-house font. They created a new font that allowed for more breathing room between letters and would ultimately read better on their iPads and iPhones.

As you begin to think about how to integrate typography into website design for healthcare professionals, think about who your audience is. Older people might need a bigger font that has more spacing between letters, while a younger audience might enjoy smaller fonts with unique curves.
What’s the difference between fonts and typefaces?

Although font and typeface are used interchangeably, these words actually mean two different things. Typeface refers specifically to what you see in a creative work, whereas font is the physical collection of letters and characters.

Serif Font

 

Image of hand written letters with guides and measurement lines imposed over letters

 

Serif fonts are fonts that have little feet. This font is easier to read in long, printed works, which is why it is often used in novels. Common serif fonts include Times New Roman, Georgia, and Garamond. These fonts are easier to read because the letters are quite distinct.

Sans Serif Font

Sans means without in French. Sans serif means without serifs. You’ll notice these feet do not have the little feet like serif fonts do. Arial and Verdana are common sans serif fonts. These fonts are often used in web documents and on blogs because they read well on low screen resolutions and appear more modern.

Blackletter

Goth and Old English are common blackletter fonts. These fonts have thick, thin strokes and were used in Gutenberg’s Bible. They were common before 1500, making them typically used today in documents that are meant to appear historic.

These letters are incredibly difficult to read, which is why when used today it’s typically only in headers or logos. Think of the New York Time’s logo. This likely isn’t something that will be used in website design for medical professionals.

Script

 

image of alphabet written in a script font

 

These fonts are based on handwriting. Think of the beautiful lettering that goes on a wedding invitation. But they’re so much more than that. There are also casual scripts that mimic an individual’s daily handwriting, as opposed to penmanship.

Components of Typeface

When it comes to typeface, there are several components of it that should be paid attention to when choosing and arranging it.

The baseline is the line there the letters sit. The cap height is the distance from the baseline to the top of a capital letter. This comes in handy when aligning type. The X-height is situated between the baseline and cap height. It’s the height of the lowercase letter.

The bowl is the curved part of the character that encloses the circular or curved part of letters like ‘d’, ‘b’, and ‘o’. After bowls, you have the serif, which is little projections that finish a stroke in a letter. Think about the little “feet” mentioned above. Finally, the defender is the longest point on a letter that ends below the baseline.

Good vs Bad Typography

Ultimately, implementing the appropriate typography for your medical marketing strategy comes down to selecting one that will meet the needs of your audience and communicate your brand essence.

Test various fonts to see what works best on your website’s desktop version and on mobile devices. Consider how the font will appear when printed on business cards, as keeping a consistent use of typography and font will help establish your brand.

Consider the efficacy of the typography. You might find one that seems super cool and edgy, but find that it suits neither your website nor your brand essence. Using it could make your website look silly and even turn people away.