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What Are Web Safe Fonts?

The right typeface can transform an ordinary document to an extraordinary piece of communication, but it’s important to choose the proper font for your desired medium. While graphic designers have maximum creative freedom with print media such as books and magazines, online programmers have other factors to keep in mind when making stylistic decisions. If you’re designing content for a website, it’s crucial to work within the constraints of your operating system. So what are web safe fonts? Here’s a brief overview on how they work and why they’re so important to the publishing process.

How Web Safe and Non-Web Fonts Work
Computers come with a set of pre-installed typefaces in a variety of shapes, thicknesses and sizes. For a computer to display text in the style intended by the author, it needs to have the right typeface installed. If you haven’t loaded the appropriate fonts on your PC, your word processing or graphic design software will use a default font that might not fit with the surrounding content. Since website designers need to contend with a virtually endless audience of internet users, they tend to work with typefaces that fall in the pre-installed category for both Windows and Mac systems. There are 10 of these so-called “web safe” fonts:
  • Comic Sans
  • Courier New
  • Georgia
  • Times New Roman
  • Verdana
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Palatino
  • Tahoma
  • Arial
  • Impact 
Why Web Safe Fonts Are Important
There are a few reasons to use the right fonts for your online projects, but the most important is consistency. You want your page to look right across a wide array of platforms, and that won’t happen if the typefaces won’t load properly. Web fonts also help pages load faster and could even help with your search engine results, as website errors could cause you to fall lower in the priority order of functional websites. There’s also the question of scalability, as you wouldn’t want your typeface to look pixelated when a mobile user zooms in to get a closer look on a smaller display.
Make Smart Web Design Decisions
No matter if you’re a webmaster or online graphic designer, it’s important to know what you’re doing, and that starts by answering the question “what are web safe fonts?” While the list of compatible typefaces might seem limiting, there are other ways to add flair and creativity to your internet content. If you’d like to enhance your website’s appearance with graphics or video files, check out Shutterstock’s complete library for millions of royalty-free photographs, footage clips and musical scores.   
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