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30 web-safe fonts and why you should use them

Best web safe fonts for your website.

Hear me out: selecting fonts is one of the most important decisions you make when designing a website. As a Wix Partner with a track record of building accessible websites, I’ve seen how the typography you choose to display on your website not only affects your site’s aesthetic, but also its functionality. It has the power to impact the speed, stability and accessibility of your site. In this article, I’ll explain what typography is considered web-safe, why these fonts are important and how to add them to a Wix website.

An infographic of the 30 web safe fonts discussed in this article.

What are web-safe fonts?

A web-safe font is one that is pre-installed on most browsers and operating systems. This increases the likelihood that the content will look the same for all users. Alternatively, when you feature a web font (a.k.a. a non-web-safe font) that hasn’t been installed on a user’s operating system, the system will either download the font or substitute it with one from the same generic font family. This difference makes web-safe fonts useful for several reasons:

  • Consistency: Featuring web-safe fonts on a site ensures that its typography remains consistent and legible, regardless of the operating system that a visitor uses to access it.

  • Accessibility: Because web-safe fonts are designed specifically for screen display and readability at smaller font sizes, they are a tenet of website accessibility.

  • Faster page load times: When a website uses web-safe fonts, the user's device does not have to download any additional font files, which can result in faster page load times. This is particularly important for users with slower internet connections or older devices, but featuring a font that isn’t widely available can slow down even the fastest computers. One test revealed that a webpage took 155 times longer to load when it featured a web-safe font than when it didn’t.

What are the different types of web-safe fonts?

Like all other types of fonts, web-safe fonts are categorized according to their generic font families. A generic font family is a category or classification of fonts that share common characteristics or design elements. There are five generic font families: serif, sans-serif, monospace, cursive and fantasy.

In most cases, I don’t feature more than two generic font families on a website. My font pairings tend to use sans-serif fonts for copy text, as they tend to be the easiest to read in smaller sizes. Sometimes, I simplify the design even further by only using variations of the same font family. My website, for example, only features variations from the Ubuntu font family.

8 web-safe serif fonts

With their respectable appearance, serif fonts are prevalent in print media. The serifs (or flourishes at the end of each letter) that give this font style its unique silhouette explain its popularity. These fonts are often described as traditional, reliable, elegant and sophisticated. Serif fonts can become difficult to read at smaller sizes, so they’re most effective when displayed in size 12 or larger.

An infographic of serif web-safe fonts: Bodoni Poster, Linotype Didot, American Typewriter, Georgia, Times New Roman, EB Garamond, Rockwell and Palatino.

01. Bodoni Poster

Italian typographer Giambattista Bodoni designed the original Bodoni font in 1798, so the high-contrast font is timeless. When the Linotype studio released Bodoni Poster in 1929, it was often used in advertisements in posters. The font gained even more prevalence when Nirvana used the compressed style of the font for its band logo. Its weight makes Bodoni Poster a good choice for site titles and branding. A geometric sans-serif copy text would complement the chunky font nicely. Bodoni Poster is available in the Wix font library, but you must acquire a license for commercial usage.

Serif web safe font Bodoni Poster.

02. Linotype Didot

As a modern take on the historic Didot font, Linotype Didot maintains the neoclassical serifs while creating even greater disparity between the thin and thick strokes. With unique features like a dip at the top of the t and the bulbous terminals, this serif font emanates luxury and creativity. Indeed, Vogue has used a Didot style for its logo since the fifties. Because of the disproportionality of this font, it’s not a great choice for body text. Save it for headings, titles and branding.

Serif web safe font Linotype Didot.

03. American Typewriter

Unlike most of the fonts that typewriters employ, the American Typewriter font has proportional kerning, meaning that the spacing is proportional to the character. Popularly used in the I♥NY logo, American Typewriter lends a retro vibe to text. Lighter styles of the slab-serif typeface are legible in small fonts, so it’s suitable for copy text.

Serif web safe font American Typewriter.

04. Georgia

Designed specifically for screen reading, the Georgia typeface is useful in both small and large sizes. As for its impact, the font exudes a friendly familiarity that will put your site visitors at ease.

Serif web safe font Georgia.

05. Times New Roman

Monotype studio designed Times New Roman in 1931 to make newspapers more legible. As the default font for many operating systems, it’s highly readable in all sizes and styles.

Serif web safe font Times New Roman.

06. EB Garamond

EB Garamond is a revived version of the original sixteenth-century typeface. It’s an open-source font, so you can incorporate it in commercial projects without purchasing a license. Highly readable, it’s suitable for a variety of applications, including dense blocks of text. Its spaciousness and lack of harsh angles give EB Garamond a refined appearance. Because of its age, the font could be a good fit for historical or traditional content.

Serif web safe font EB Garamond.

07. Rockwell

Rockwell is a geometric slab-serif font with a monolinear design, meaning that the stroke is the same thickness throughout. Its thickness and lack of curves give it a sense of strength that can be especially useful in industrial contexts. That said, those same qualities make it less readable in smaller sizes or in low-contrast environments. Save this font for circumstances that accommodate larger-sized fonts.

Serif web safe font Rockwell.

08. Palatino

German typeface designer Hermann Zapf based the design of Palatino on the handwriting of Italian Renaissance masters. He drew the letters with a quill pen, which accounts for the peculiar shape of the letters. Palatino is an old, traditional font that is widely used for both main text and titles.

Serif web safe font Palatino.

11 web-safe, sans-serif fonts

Sans-serif fonts don’t have flourishes at the ends of each stroke, so they’re more modern and clear than serif fonts. Such fonts can be useful in digital contexts. Sans-serif fonts are more readable than serif fonts for everyone, including children and people with low-vision or dyslexia. They also evoke less of an emotional response than other fonts. Therefore, they’re useful for sites with lots of copy or those that discuss substantive topics.

An infographic of sans-serif web safe fonts: Helvetica, Arial, Segoe Ui, Trebuchet, Verdana, Century Gothic, Tahoma, DejaVu Sans, Calibri, Candara, Lucida Sans Unicode.

01. Helvetica

As one of the most commonly used fonts on the internet, Helvetica is a simple yet versatile typeface that comes in dozens of different styles. It’s a modern, undecorated sans-serif made of even strokes that give it a strict, solid appearance. Helvetica is the default font for Apple devices and it’s used in many corporate logos. Despite such ubiquity, it feels fresh in just about any context.

Sans serif web safe font Helvetica.

02. Arial

Inspired by Helvetica, Arial is a similarly versatile font, though with a slightly more sober character. It’s more narrow—both in character width and spacing—than its predecessor, and it was designed to look better in small sizes. If your priority is efficiency and readability, you can’t go wrong with Arial. That said, Helvetica would be a better choice for more design-oriented pursuits.

Sans serif web safe font Arial.

03. Segoe Ui

Segoe Ui is clean yet approachable. You might recognize it from Microsoft’s branding. The roomy kerning and clean lines make this humanist sans-serif font oddly refreshing.

Sans serif web safe font Segoe Ui.

04. Trebuchet MS

Vincent Connare designed Trebuchet MS for Microsoft in 1996 with the intention of developing a font that would display well on screens. The designer took inspiration from U.S. highway signage as well as sans-serif fonts, such as Gill Sans and Frutiger. Thanks to the subtle curves at stroke intersections, the open counters (which means there’s more negative space between characters), the large x-height and the bold weight, the font manages to be both readable in dense paragraphs and notable in headings.

Sans serif web safe font Trebuchet MS.

05. Verdana

With its wide line spacing, large x-height and loosely set characters, Verdana is one of the most readable fonts available. British type designer Matthew Carter designed Verdana so that commonly confused characters, such as the uppercase i and lowercase l, are easy to distinguish.

Sans serif web safe font Verdana.

06. Century Gothic

Century Gothic is a geometric digital font released by Monotype Imaging in 1991. Century Gothic is a light, airy font with clean and sharp finishing strokes and very well–designed italics. It was designed for use with large fonts, mostly in the headlines. Therefore, it has a fairly pure geometric shape, closely related to the circle and the square.

Sans serif web safe font Century Gothic.

07. Tahoma

Microsoft released Tahoma (another Matthew Carter font) in 1994. It has narrowed characters, small intra-letter gaps and a full set of Unicode symbols. Tahoma is most often found in macOS and Windows, and is commonly used as an alternative to the Arial font. The main advantage of the Tahoma font is that it is easy to read in any kind of pin.

Sans serif web safe font Tahoma.

08. DejaVu Sans

DejaVu Sans was created as part of the DejaVu font project, which aims to provide a set of fonts that cover as many languages, styles and weights as possible. The font is known for its excellent legibility on screen and in print. It is a popular choice for user interfaces, web pages and documents that require a clean and easy-to-read font.

Sans serif web safe font DejaVu Sans.

09. Calibri

Dutch designer Lucas de Groot designed the Calibri font family for Microsoft. It features roundish strokes and lots of circular elements that make it readable in small sizes. In 2004, de Groot won a typeface design award from the Type Directors Club for the font family. Three years later, Microsoft made Calibri its default font.

Sans serif web safe font Calibri.

10. Candara

Candara was designed by typeface designer Gary Munch in 2006. This typeface was licensed under the name of Microsoft. It is distinguished by unique end elements (in q letters for instance) as well as slightly uneven and curved vertical strokes. Due to the small curvature of the strokes, there is a significant reduction in readability in small pins. When used in headlines (larger than 12-point), this font can enliven the text quite well. In general, Candara is suitable for blogs or youth communities, but its quirky personality may make it inappropriate for business purposes.

Sans serif web safe font Candara.

11. Lucida Sans Unicode

Lucida Sans Unicode has plump lines and rounded letterforms. It supports a wide range of scripts, making it useful for international applications. The Lucida font family is one of the most extensive, making it easy to pair Lucida Sans Unicode with others.

4 monospace web-safe fonts

A monospace font, also known as a fixed-width font, is a type of font in which every character occupies the same amount of horizontal space, regardless of the character’s width or shape. These fonts are often used for computer programming, coding and technical documents. Because of that association, these fonts project a sense of order, precision and professionalism.

An infographic of monospace web safe fonts: Andale Mono, Monaco, Lucida Console, Courier New.

01. Andalé Mono

Andalé Mono's modern design, legibility, availability and character set make it a popular choice for technical and coding applications, as well as for tabular data and spreadsheets. It has a clean, modern look, and is designed to be highly legible even in small sizes.

Monospace web safe font Andale Mono.

02. Monaco

Monaco is a monospaced sans-serif typeface created by American typeface designers Susan Kare and Kris Holmes. It was originally created for Apple's Macintosh operating system and has since become popular among developers and designers. The font features clear, legible characters with distinct punctuation marks, making it an excellent choice for digital publications and websites. It is often used in the design of logos and other graphics.

Monospace web safe font Monaco.

03. Lucida Console

Lucida Console is a monospaced typeface that was designed by Kris Holmes and Charles Bigelow in 1985. It is a part of the larger Lucida font family, which was designed to be highly readable on both computer screens and in print. Lucida Console has a clean, modern appearance with a slightly condensed and upright letterform. The font is often used in situations where legibility is important, such as for captions and small blocks of text.

Monospace web safe font Lucida Console.

04. Courier New

Courier New was designed by Howard "Bud" Kettler and released by IBM in 1955 for use on typewriters. It was later adapted for use as a computer font and has become a popular choice for coding and programming due to its fixed-width characters and clear, easy-to-read appearance. Courier New is often used in legal documents and other applications where a clear and legible typeface is necessary.

Monospace web safe font Courier New.

5 web-safe fantasy fonts

Fantasy fonts are decorative and often whimsical, so designers often use them to draw in a user’s attention. They are the most dynamic of the font families and are therefore most suited for creative contexts. Fantasy fonts are capable of reflecting historical epochs, styles, design trends and cultural traditions.

Because fantasy fonts rarely have much staying power, there aren’t many web-safe fantasy fonts. I don't recommend using fantasy fonts unless you are very confident in your design skills.

An infographic of fantasy fonts: Luminari, Trattatello, Copperplate, Playbill and Papyrus.

01. Luminari

Luminari is characterized by its high contrast between thick and thin strokes, its elegant curves and serifs, and its overall sense of harmony and balance. The typeface has a classic, timeless quality that makes it well-suited for use in a wide range of contexts, from branding to book design.

Fantasy web safe font Luminari.

02. Trattatello

Trattatello is best suited for use in headlines, titles and other display applications that require a strong, attention-grabbing font. Trattatello is a popular choice among designers who want to add a touch of elegance and sophistication to their designs.

Fantasy web safe font Trattatello.

03. Copperplate

Copperplate imitates a nineteenth-century engravings typeface. The font is characterized by its thin, uniform strokes, which contrast nicely against its thick downstrokes. It has a classic and elegant look, which makes it popular for use in projects that require a traditional and sophisticated appearance. The Copperplate font is often used in combination with other fonts for contrast or as a highlight, such as in headings, titles or logos.

Fantasy web safe font Copperplate.

04. Playbill

The Playbill typeface is a distinctive font that is commonly used in theater-related design. It is a fantasy font with thick strokes and bold lines, giving it a strong and commanding presence. The Playbill font has a timeless quality that makes it a classic choice for theatrical design, and it continues to be widely used today.

Fantasy web safe font Playbill.

05. Papyrus

Inspired by ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, Papyrus font exudes an old-world flair. Its uneven lines and irregular letterforms make it look organic. This typeface has a number of unique features, including uneven curves, high horizontal strokes in the capitals and rough edges.

Fantasy web safe font Papyrus.

2 cursive web-safe fonts

Cursive fonts are creative in nature. They have a flowing, connected style that evokes individuality and creativity. Cursive fonts are difficult to read in smaller fonts, so they’re more useful in headings and decorative text than copy.

An infographic of cursive web safe fonts: Brush Script, Bradley Hand.

01. Brush Script

Brush Script is a cursive font that mimics the appearance of calligraphy. Because of its elegant, flowing appearance, it’s popular for informal applications.

Cursive web safe font Brush Script.

02. Bradley Hand

Bradley Hand is a casual script typeface with an irregular baseline and varying stroke weights to simulate the look of natural handwriting. The typeface has been widely used in print and digital media, particularly for personal communications and creative projects that aim to convey a sense of informality or playfulness. Bradley Hand is available in multiple weights and styles, including regular, bold, italic and condensed.

Cursive web safe font Bradley Hand.

What are font stacks?

Although web-safe fonts are widely available, there aren’t any fonts that are guaranteed to work on all operating systems. That’s where font stacks come in handy. A font stack provides operating systems with fallback display options if the primary font isn’t available. By coding font stacks into websites, designers can provide a hierarchy of font choices that will display consistently and legibly across a wide range of devices and platforms.

With font stacks, you can feature web fonts on your website, then code a web-safe alternative into every element’s font stack. This strategy allows you to be creative with your typography without sacrificing the integrity of your site.

How to add web-safe fonts to a Wix website

When creating a Wix website, I always start by selecting a text theme in the site design panel. This ensures that my font usage is consistent throughout my website. It also makes it much easier to choose different fonts down the line, because I can simply change the text theme and the entire website will automatically update to reflect the change.

Wix’s font library comes with a wide variety of pre-installed fonts, several of which are web-safe fonts. Of the 30 web-safe fonts we’ve discussed, these are the ones that are pre-installed in the Wix Font Library.

  • Bodoni Poster

  • Linotype Didot

  • American Typewriter

  • Georgia

  • Times New Roman

  • Garamond

  • Palatino Type

  • Helvetica

  • Arial

  • Verdana

  • Tahoma

  • Lucida Sans Unicode

  • Lucida Console

  • Courier New

You can also add fonts to Wix if the web-safe options you were looking for aren’t available. For example, if I wanted to feature Rockwell on a site, I would simply open the text theme in the site design panel, select the text style I wanted to change, then hit “Upload Fonts” in the right-hand corner of the font dropdown menu.

There are a few things you need to consider before finalizing your website typography choices. In addition to considering the impact a font may have on site performance and accessibility, it’s also important to pay attention to its licensing restrictions. While some are free to use in all circumstances, you will have to purchase licenses that entitle commercial usage for others.

A Wix website that utilizes serif web safe font EB Garamond.