28 Web-Safe Fonts To Use On Your Site (Plus Definition)
Updated February 3, 2023
You may want to use web-safe fonts to ensure your site can adapt to any browser on any device. They allow users to see the content of your website the way you designed it and avoid potential distortion or miscommunication with your clients or readers. Understanding how to use them as you're creating a website can help you ensure your content is easy for your audience to read and share.
In this article, we explain what web-safe fonts are and why they're important, review what font families are and share a list of 28 web-safe CSS and HTML fonts you can use.
What are web-safe fonts?
Web-safe fonts are digital lettering styles that are visible on any browser or device and can improve your website's performance on search engines. You can increase your website loading speed when you use web-safe fonts because the site stores them locally. Using them can also improve search engine optimization since search engine rankings take page loading speed into consideration. Web-safe CSS or HTML fonts are essential to ensure your site communicates your brand message effectively by making your website appear to users the exact way you designed it.
Why are web-safe fonts important?
Web-safe fonts are important because computer manufacturers sometimes use different fonts. It implies that if the font you chose for your website is not pre-installed on a computer, your website reverts to a generic font that might be unreadable. When fonts are not web-safe, users might not be able to read your content.
Typography also contributes to your brand identity. Users associate designer features like fonts with the brand logo. It is an essential part of the marketing strategy, and you want to make sure the users see it. Therefore, developers and designers use web-safe fonts so that readers can see the intended content appropriately displayed on a web page.
What are font families?
Understanding what font families are can help you decide which web-safe font you want to use for your side depending on your audience and style. Fonts are categorized into five families according to their design similarities, including:
Serif: The fonts from the serif family are elegant and formal. They present a small line at the end of a big line in a letter or symbol. One popular example of a font in the serif family is Times New Roman.
Sans-serif: Sans-serif family fonts are modern and minimalist. They don't have a small line attached to every letter, and most of them show the same stroke width. One example is Helvetica.
Monospace: The fonts from the monospace family occupy screen space consistently. This means that each letter and symbol of the fonts in this family fill the same horizontal space. Courier is a common example of a monospace font.
Cursive: The fonts in the cursive family mimic human handwriting by joining letters flowingly. Brands may use fonts in the cursive family to create a more artistic or personal feel for their site. Brush Script is an example of a cursive font.
Fantasy: The fonts from the Fantasy font family usually display decorative elements in each letter. It can help strengthen the idea behind the content in fictional stories. One example of a fantasy font is the one used in the "Star Wars" movies.
28 web-safe fonts for your website
When you wonder which font to choose for your website, keep this in mind: Your font should be compatible with most devices. It should fit your style, fit your writing tone and be highly readable by your users. You can find below a list of web-safe fonts to help you pick yours:
1. Arial (sans-serif)
Arial is one of the safest web fonts since it is available on most computers. It is a popular font for online and printed media. Arial font is very similar to Helvetica because it was created for printers willing to use the popular Helvetica font without the licensing fees.
2. Arial Narrow
Arial Narrow is a more polished version than the original Arial. You may find it pre-installed on many computers and suits any webpage, just like Arial. This is a popular font for both headlines and body text.
Calibri is Microsoft Office default font. Many users use Microsoft Windows, so it represents this system to users who read HTML font on their browsers. It's a straightforward option that many readers may find familiar.
Cambria is another clean Microsoft font style. It presents very even proportions and offers an excellent on-screen reading experience, even when displayed in small sizes.
5. Brush Script
Brush Script font is a calligraphy-style font that imitates handwriting and offers a sophisticated look. This HTML font can improve your site's readability. You may want to use it to invoke a more creative or whimsical feel for your site.
Copperplate only includes capital letters. This makes it an ideal font for headings and titles on your website. However, you may not want to use it for a body paragraph since there are no lowercase letters available.
7. Tahoma (sans-serif)
Tahoma is a sans-serif typeface. It's a popular alternative to Arial and offers a bolder weight and less space between characters. Some earlier versions of Windows used it as the default font.
8. Trebuchet MS (sans-serif)
Trebuchet is a popular sans-serif font released in 1996. It got its name after a medieval siege machine with the same name.
9. Lucida Bright
Lucida Bright offers more contrast than the other Lucida fonts. It is a narrow typeface, allowing effective use of space.
Geneva is a sans-serif font created by Apple. It offers a modern, clean look for your website. This means it's a great option for a sleek sight design, particularly if you're in the technology industry.
Georgia is an elegant serif font, ideal for mobile responsive design. The Georgia font looks bigger when compared with other same-size fonts. It is best not to pair it with other serif fonts like Times New Roman. It may make them look too small in comparison.
Time is the old print you may have seen in narrow newspaper columns. It is a traditional font. While it may not be as popular as it once was, it's still a great option because of its legibility.
13. Times New Roman (serif)
Times New Roman is a popular serif font that many businesses use because of its readability and neutral style. This is a great option for paragraph text and longer portions of copy. However, you can also use it in titles and headlines.
Verdana is an excellent screen font. It's easy to read even when displayed on low-resolution screens or in small font sizes. This means it may be a good choice if you know your audience plans to view your site on their phones.
15. Didot (serif)
Didot is an elegant serif font. It originated in old French printing presses.
16. Courier (monospace)
Courier is a famous monospace font. It is the standard font for movie scripts, so consider it if your blog or website is about the film industry. It is available on most operating systems.
17. Courier New
Courier New is a thinner alternative to Courier. It is a typewriter font and offers an old-school look to websites that use it. Many electronic devices support Courier New.
Garamond offers a timeless font. With its excellent readability and classical look, it is the favorite of many print designers. It finds its origins in 16th-century Paris and can add a historic look to a blog or website.
Helvetica is neutral and functions for any business. This means it may be a safe choice for your website regardless of your brand and purpose. You may want to use it if you're interested in creating a minimalist design.
Optima is an elegant and highly visible font. Some site designers use this font because of its lack of symmetry in line weight, which provides more of a hand-written feel to your content. You might have noticed the Optima font on road signs.
21. Monaco (monospace)
Monaco is a monospace sans-serif font. It was created for macOS and is, therefore, Apple users may be more familiar with it. However, it looks good on both macOS and Windows.
22. American Typewriter (serif)
American Typewriter is a classic font that can add a nostalgic touch to your copy. It replicates typewriter print. It may be the right lettering if you want to write about a historical topic or market vintage merchandise.
Perpetua font offers a classic and formal look. Perpetua originated from an English sculptor's idea that was influenced by memorial lettering and monuments. It is an excellent choice for educational or academic publications.
24. Lucida Console
Lucida Console is an easy-to-understand monospaced alternative to the broader Lucida font. It appears less mechanical than other monospace fonts, making it a popular option for websites.
Impact is a sans-serif font that's popular for creating for bold headlines because of its dramatic appearance and thick lettering. Both capital and lowercase letters appear thick and bold when using this font. You may want to use it alongside fonts such as Arial or Charcoal.
26. Gill Sans
Gill Sans is a font in the serif family, with clean lines that can give your site a modern feel. Since its letters lack drastic contrast or spacing, this may not be the right font for paragraphs. Instead, it's a popular font for headlines and other aspects of your site that you want to receive a reader's attention.
Palatino is a serif font that you may find in an online magazine or newspaper. It has stroke weights that slightly vary, which differentiates it from other popular fonts such as Georgia or Times New Roman. Palatino can soften harsher letters, such as k, l, x, y, and z.
Rockwell is a serif font with bold, square-like and almost monoweight lettering. You may want to use this font for a call to action or when creating a headline. While this may not be an ideal text for a body paragraph, it pairs well with other popular fonts such as Times New Roman or Georgia.
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