‘Words have meaning. Type has spirit. The combination is spectacular.”

I am sure as an e-learning designer you must have come across this statement by Paula Scher. This statement wonderfully sums up how e-learning can become meaningful through stunning use of typeface and words combination .

Needless to say that while developing the elearning modules, the visual appeal is something which cannot be compromised.The visual appeal is made up by not just the graphics and motion graphics but also by the text, which should be carefully chosen to given the right experience to the learners. There are essentially three fundamentals of design that can make or break the online learning learning module and they are:

1.Typography
2.Color
3.Layout

While I have already discussed the e-learning design layouts, here I would like to explore the importance of choosing the right typeface, which is an important aspect in the typography (the art of designing and arranging text visually). As a designer, the primary focus should be to ensure that the content on the screen is readable for the learners. It should be clearly visible and the learners shouldn’t feel that either text is too small or too cluttered.

This is ensured by choosing the right typeface for elearning.While there are no fixed rules in choosing a particular typeface, the experience of the seasoned designers, backed with research highlights the best typefaces to be used for a visually appealing e-learning course.

What is typeface?

The typeface, or font family, is an alphabet designed so that all the letters and symbols have similar features. For example, Times, Arial, and Minion are all different typefaces.

Before understanding what typeface to be used for visually appealing elearning courses, it is important to understand the main classifications of fonts.

1.Serif fonts include small decorative lines or embellishments on the body of the character. Serif fonts appear more traditional in appearance and are best used for printed text. Popular Serif fonts are –

1.Times, Times New Roman
2.Courier, Courier New
3.Georgia
4.MS Serif

2.Sans Serif fonts are the opposite of serif fonts, as they do not include the decorative line. Sans serif fonts appear to be more modern and are best used for on-screen text. Popular Sans serif fonts are –

1.Times, Times New Roman
2.Courier New
3.Georgia
4.MS Serif

3. Script fonts are fonts that appear to imitate cursive handwriting and are not very frequently used in elearning modules, as they can interfere with the readability and visibility. Sometimes such fonts are used for writing heading or title in e-learning games or e-learning quizzes, as it can give a good appeal.

4.Handwriting Fonts

This category is little new compared to the other font types. With whiteboard animations etc being used in many e-learning modules, handwriting fonts has gained the popularity. Using other normal fonts will not give the realistic effects.
Handwriting fonts have a beautiful flow of letters which is similar to a natural human written style which adds that realism effect.

As I said early in the blog, there are no strict Tips in choosing the best typeface for elearning modules. While the designers are free to explore the different options and combinations, well-experienced designers are seen following different guides to decide the best typeface for elearning.

Here in this blog, let’s use four effective tips, which can help in deciding the best typeface for a visually appealing e-learning course.

Tip 1: Select contrasting fonts.
Tip 2: Use the same font family.
Tip 3: Avoid fonts that look the same.
Tip 4: Limit the Course to Two or Three Fonts

Tip 1: Select contrasting fonts

Choose fonts that contrast by style or weight.
Another way it is commonly used is contrasting serif with san serif.
For example, the heading or the title will be in the Serif font, while the content takes the Sans Serif font.

Sans Serif typefaces are preferred when legibility is the goal and Serif typefaces are preferred when readability is the goal.

Changing size or color of the fonts is another way to create contrast among the fonts used in the content.

Tip 2: Use the same font family

Fonts generally have a family line established. For example consider the font Arial which has various other fonts from the same family like Arial black, Arial narrow etc. Fonts from the same family usually don’t differ much and have similar characteristics etc.

The benefit of using the fonts from the same family is that they’re designed to work together and hence when these fonts are used or combined together, they will not cause a distraction to the learners. This further strengthens the principle of ensuring consistency on the visual appeal of elearning modules.

Tip 3: Avoid fonts that look the same

There are chances when the designers include very similar fonts in the elearning content, this problem can be avoided by following the first Tip of creating contrast.

Fonts that look the same will create ambiguity and it becomes difficult for the user to keep focus.

A small tip here is to push your chair a little away from the screen and look at the font designs to understand if your eyes can easily read the content without causing any overload or strain to the eyes.

Tip 4: Limit the Course to two or three fonts

One of the most important tips to remember when choosing the fonts is to select no more than two or three fonts for your project.
Using too many different fonts for different sections of the design will distract and confuse the reader. For every elearning project, you require consistency in the visual appeal throughout the module.

Typefaces are most important but widely neglected aspect of an e-learning course and my blog intends to draw your attention to this aspect when designing your next e-learning course. So definitely consider these tips while designing your next e-learning and don’t forget to leave your comments in the box below.