Home » Articles » Using Typography to Get Attention

Using Typography to Get Attention

by G.Entp27

When designing a Web page, there are many ways to attract attention to important events or items. The most common way is to change the font size of the headline. For example, during the U.S. war in Iraq, CNN.com changed their banner headline from font-size: 20px to font-size: 48px - more than doubling it.
You can see that in the two screen shots of CNN - the first is from December 2002, and the largest headline reads: "Iraq promises report Dec. 7". This is written in 20px type right below the photo. The second screen shot is from CNN in March 2003. The banner headline reads "CLASHES INTENSIFY". This is written in 48px type at the top of the page. Even the second headline (which does not completely show in the screen shot), is in font-size: 28px, another 8px larger than their standard headline from December.
Using Typography to Get Attention
Using changes in font sizes to get attention is nothing new. But before you go out and make your headlines 48px or larger, you need to follow a few simple rules:
1.    Is this really that important?
If you're announcing a 30% off shoe sale, it might be important to some people but making the font unbearably huge will just turn most people off.
2.    What's the standard font size on your page?
If you type everything at 20pt, then creating a 30pt headline will not look that much different. But a 16pt headline next to 8pt text might look huge.
3.    Do you have standards for what font size to use?
You should decide ahead of time what types of events will trigger an increase in headline size. Once you have a plan, then even if your marketing director comes in begging to announce his shoe sale at 56pt type, you will have a standard size for that level of event.
But changing the font size is not the only way to get attention. You can also play with the font:
·    Family
If you have a sans-serif font, switch to a serif font for emphasis.
·    Color
Reds are a good color to attract attention.
·    style or weight
Making text bold or italicized will make it stand out.
Other Ways to Get Attention
Changing the font size or color is not the only way to change your Web site to get attention.
·    Images
Images and graphics are always attention-getters. The aphorism "a picture says a thousand words" is true because people are visual, and using a picture to enhance or emphasize what you want to say will do more than just words alone. Google uses pictures to emphasize various holidays and other events.
·    Layout
An exciting way to attract attention to an event is to completely change your layout. After the September 11th attacks, CNN removed nearly all of their normal navigation to give more room for their coverage of the events. Amazon thanked its customers for their loyalty by replacing their front page with a letter from the president.
·    animation
Animation where normally you have flat images will attract attention. Many Web designers use this in splash pages to show off their skills and make their site more dynamic.
Use with Care
It is easy to go overboard with these techniques. If every line of your site is bold or red or blinking then nothing will stand out. And if you announce your 30% off shoe sale at the same intensity as announcing a war, your customers will quickly learn to ignore your

Monday, Jul 14th, 2008