Colored fonts are evil.
I’m not talking about colored fonts in the website design, nor colored fonts in headings within your content. I’m talking about colorizing the words you are reading as you read, just because, and the because usually isn’t a good enough reason to make us suffer when we read your site.
When teaching nature photography, we found all the students going through the “filter” phase, adding sparkling star filters, going heavy on polarizers to paint the sky half dark blue and the rest washed out, warming filters, purple filters, green filters, special effects filters…sometimes we thought they were more interested in the filter than their subject.
My husband would say that using filters and special effects in photography is like cooking with spices. “A small amount can make the dish but too much will spoil the meal.”
In the pre-1999 web design days where we were locked into grid patterns with table-based web designs, many designers put their energy into font colors when there wasn’t much else we can do. Today, that’s not acceptable.
More importantly, it dates your site.
[Can I stop now! It hurts my eyes!]
Here are sure signs your site, content, and maybe even you, are out of date.
- Using more than two font colors on a single article. Stick with easy to read black for the text and color in the headings – unless you are announcing a birth, wedding, death, war, or emergency.
- Center the text of poems or featured content no more than 4 lines high. Centered text is hard to read, looks odd, and extremely old fashioned.
- Learn how to properly quote references and what other people say. Use
blockquotesnot fonts to help us see that these words aren’t your words.
- Italics are used for foreign words, air quotes, and short notes rarely longer than a few lines. Italic tends to be hard to read and is considered a shout from a web page.
- Bolds are for emphasis on specific words like instructions or titles. Words set in bold randomly (or not) across an article makes the reader’s eyes ping pong around the page, forcing them to skim the content not read and enjoy it.
- Indent is dead. If there was no space between paragraphs, indents would be a clue as to a paragraph beginning and ending. On the web, not necessary, and old fashioned.
- Mixed fonts are fun for a while, allowing your creativity to shine when it comes to clicking a couple buttons, but reading through a variety of fonts in a sentence, let alone throughout an article, makes the reading difficult and often sends readers running. Show your creativity in other ways.
- Using link dumps are old fashioned and hard http://lorelleteaches.com/2013/01/08/what-is-a-properly-formed-link/ to read. Create links properly so they are easily read and not a distraction of code in the middle of your article.
- Crowding in any way is old fashioned. Content needs room to breath, to give a reader the chance to literally read between the lines.
- Using any of these outside the content area, such as in the sidebar, to overemphasize something. It just adds to the clutter and distracts from your content.
Don’t let your content compete, even with itself.
Your blog exercise today is to clean up your out-of-date messes.
If you’ve a habit of mixing fonts and using colored fonts, break it now. Go back over some of your old posts and remove all the colorization and turn the fonts into one kind. Readable.
When I brought this topic up in my class, one student pipped up with, “Friends don’t let friends f**k with fonts.” It put me on the floor. He was so right.
So tell your friends not to abuse fonts and help them make their sites more readable, open, and friendly.
More Modern Web Design Resources for Your Blog
The following are links to articles and blog exercises to help you clean up your site and bring it into the 21st century.
- Copyright: How to Quote and Cite Sources
- Links and the Anchor HTML Tag
- The Basic Structure of a Blog Post
- What You Must Know About Writing on the Web
- How to Add HTML in a WordPress Blog Post
- What is a Properly Formed Link?
- How to Add Images in Your Post Content
- Writing with Single Lines Not Double in Your Blog Posts
- Writing Better Blog Post Titles
- Blog Exercises: Make Post Titles Matter
- Blog Exercises: Fix Images in Your Content
- Blog Exercises: Quoting and Blockquotes
- Blog Exercises: How to Publish Code
- Blog Exercises: How Many Words in a Link?
- WordPress.com Blog Bling « Lorelle on WordPress
- Blog Exercises: Writing Poetry and Recipes in Your Blog