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Which Web Font Size Should You Be Using?

It can be a challenge to pick the right typeface for your website. Once you do, you then have to consider which web font size is best.

When I first began blogging, I used a 12-point web font size for the blog’s body text.

At the time, it seemed pretty readable to me. But over time, I learned that 14-point font was the preferred size. And so, with some hesitation, I made the decision to increase the font size to 14.

At first, that font size seemed just on the border of too large. But I quickly got used to it.

A funny thing happens to many people as they turn 40: their arms mysteriously get shorter. They can no longer hold a piece of paper far enough away to bring it into focus.

And after I turned 40, I finally wound up wearing bifocals. By then, many web authorities began recommending 16-point font for website body copy. (I suspect they must have been about the same age I was!)

Recommended sizes are now even larger.

Many still say 16-point font size is more than adequate. In fact, the majority still suggest 16-point is the right size for body text on a website. Some give a far more technical, math-heavy formula for determining the right size for the right individual font.

As the second link above points out, screens are different and fonts themselves are different. Some fonts, when lined up side by side in the same size look different in size.

But bigger may truly be better when it comes to web font size. Consider this guidance from Design Shack:

For text-heavy pages, consider going even larger with body text to reduce eyestrain, such as 18 points or even 20 points.

While you weren’t looking, I upped the font size for body text on this site to 18 points. It doesn’t look as large to me as I thought it would. That’s especially true when I check out my site on my phone!

But according to MailChimp, even bigger might be better. In a resource on email templates, it says 16-point font should be the minimum, adding that Apple recommends 17-22px and Google recommends 18-22px.

It then points out that Medium uses a standard 21-point font size for body text. Here’s an example. Honestly, at first, it seemed large. But I was surprised at how quickly I got used to it.

So maybe 18-point is the new 16-point.

At this point, as much time as many of us spend in front of screens — often time required for work — anything that’s easier on the eyes might just be the ticket!

How do you feel about web font sizes? Do most sites you visit use font that’s too small, too big or just right for you?

1 Comment

  1. I just tried increasing the font size to Blogger “Large” and it does look better and is easier to read. I will give it a try for the next couple of weeks and maybe I will have a poll at the end of the trial period.

    I think most sites use a font too small and I have to use the “zoom” function on the browser.

    Here is a topic to cover sometime, paragraph size. I notice some blogs look more like a master’s thesis and other look like a Dick and Jane reader. I prefer limiting it to 3 or 4 sentences more than that I think turns off readers.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.