Articles by Reese Spykerman
I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for small businesses—not only are they at the center of my own business, they’re also the engine behind a strong, creative, diverse economy—-one that helps support and feed everyday families like yours and mine. The best part about products from small businesses? These entrepreneurs offer the kind of meaningful, quirky, “oh my God where did you FIND this?” gifts that make you the person they’ll remember actually put some thought into finding them something better than socks from that place that rhymes with slap. So I’ve pulled together a gift guide for…
When I was a sprout in pigtails, my dad did the airplane zoom thing with my food (you know, pretend the spoon’s a plane and hypnotize 1-year-old me into opening wide for the pureed peaches). The family word is I inhaled the squash (which I later hated as a kid and teenager) and spat out the spinach. Well, duh. Bet my parents would have been all over the silicone bibs from today’s e-commerce store. I saw these and thought if I had a kid, they’d probably be my second purchase after a crib. Even though I don’t have kids, I…
When my friend Abby recommends something, I listen. Like when she recommended I read Glennon Doyle’s Untamed, I ate that up and bought it the same day. Abby’s one of my friends with a very carefully curated sense of style. Last week Abby shared with me one of her favorite e-commerce DTC (direct to consumer) online brands is Roolee.com. There are so many usability and user experience checkmarks Roolee gets right, like priming people in the cart process (for instance, we know shipping will be charged unless we spend $100 and they tell us what’s going to happen in the next…
Google Fonts Series
Never was the life of the party.
Oh, I tried in college.
But my heart wasn’t in it.
I didn’t know then what I know now: I’m an introvert.
(Can you relate? Let’s talk, just the two of us).
Some fonts are like introverts: quiet, steady, deep.
And some are like Beyoncé: they move, they shake. They know how to command attention.
Websites that use fonts effectively connect with people.
YE OLDE WEBSITES: THE OLDEN DAYS OF THE INTERNET
It was love/hate, design wise.
Long ago, before Lizzo was hot, I designed the Art of Non Conformity website (and first edition book cover) for Chris Guillebeau.
I loved that site. I went hog wild with the fonts. I mean, look at this collection of styles:
But you know what I hated?
They were static.
We were stuck with what I did in the first round.
Every one of those bits of text you see?
Remember The Breakfast Club?
You had the jock, the rich girl. The geek, the bad boy, and the outcast.
They each had different traits, right?
Google Font categories are kind of like that, without the teenaged hormones and leg warmers.
Google categorizes its fonts into 5 different groups:
There’s differences among all of them. Let’s look at the first two and compare and contrast them.
We’re going to take a break from looking at fonts for a moment to focus on you and your business.
It kind of makes you roll your eyes.
Or tune out.
Seems like the words “brand” and “branding” are tossed around everywhere, and half the time it’s like they’re just buzzwords.
Let’s simplify it all a bit.
If you have a business, big or small, you have a brand.
If you have a personal website, you have a personal brand (you!)
The 1-million-dollar question is whether your brand is accidental, or intentional.
It’s time to get intentional and clear about your brand.
This is where everything gets exciting (to me, at least. The type nerd 🤓).
This lesson is all about the secret lives of fonts. This could be a movie (but only if Samuel Jackson agrees to show up).
Fonts have distinctive personalities.
You might be thinking, “come on, Reese, fonts have personalities? Really?”
Yep, they really do. Some are quiet and formal, and some are loud and assertive. There’s friendly and casual ones, and there’s everything from fonts for hipsters to fonts for bankers.
How does this relate to your business and website?
You want people to stay.
You have inspiration to read or things to sell, right?
To keep your audience stuck on your site like luxury waterproof mascara stays on your lashes, your text needs to be comfortable.
More critically, it needs to not cause discomfort.
WHAT IS BODY TEXT?
First, let’s define body text.
It’s the text you’re reading right now.
Not the headlines.
To get the most of out of this lesson, you should have a body font selected.
Maybe you already have a body font on your site you’re happy with. Great job! If that’s you, stick with me. This lesson is about choosing a font for your headlines that plays nicely with the body font you chose and signals your brand values and personality.
First, refer back to the list of your brand values & personality you made in lesson 3.
Look again for your overarching theme and use that to help you find a headline font that has personality.
This is a supplementary lesson on accent text and Google fonts. Accent text is what I call the words you have in tiny snippets. Like the text I’ve circled here from Marie Kondo’s website:
This is the text used in small bits, like dates, or the headings of categories.
One easy way to style this text that will look polished is to take your body font, and use it as accent text in Bold, or italics, or all caps.
You’ve learned about the personalities and types of fonts.
You’ve found one or two that reflect your brand.
Now you’re going to get the fonts you picked on to your site.
I’ll also share tips on how to size and style them.
Did you know more than 50% of people will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load?
Customers no longer have patience for slow-loading websites or websites with so much junk on them their phones freeze up or crash.
Your site needs to be lean and mean if you want to keep people around. This is a short lesson on how to balance Google fonts with website site speed.
The more Google fonts and styles you add to your site, the more weight they add, and the more this affect your website load time.