5 Rules Of Styling A Great Headline

Making everything bigger and bolder might not be the optimal approach to choosing a headline font. It usually isn’t in most cases. Picking the style or the headline, the most essential part of the text is much more complicated. Good news, though, complex doesn’t mean complicated.

5 Easy Steps To Determining The Headline Style

There isn’t a single best headline font, and even rules tend to be flexible. The font choice depends on the topic, purpose, and audience of the text. The source and medium also have critical importance. A corporate website has to be styled officially while a personal printed invite can use more creative versions.

Rule #1 – Make sure it stands out

The first step of making a visible headline is creating contrast. You need to find a balance, adapting the headline font to the text but using unique access. For texts with a lot of symbols and on webpages, it’s best to choose sans serif fonts. They are easier to read and look less formal.

Letter spacing should be kept average – typical Arial is a good example. You don’t want to put the letters too close to each other or far apart. Generally, it’s best to stick to the same spacing standards in the headline and throughout the entire text.

The headline font can stand out with colors and alignment. If the entire text is black, the headline can be done in dark blue shades. Bold is welcome, too – stay away from Italic, though.

Rules Of Styling

Rule #2 – Leave room for fun

The safest choice is to stick to regular text fonts – Arial, Tahoma, Georgia, Lato. This secure options can be used for business cards, corporate websites, and presentations.

However, if you make a creative product or work on a personal project, use thematic fonts that spark particular feelings in your audience’s minds. Here are some great examples – you can get a general tendency from these.

Use iconic movies and TV shows for inspiration. If you are working on the thematic party or geek-ish product, you can experiment with a Star Wars font. If your audience is comprised of the fans of the franchise, you’ll immediately start speaking on the same language, with the font alone.

Paint and handwriting never get old. Great calligraphy adds a personal feeling to the text. It’s an excellent choice for logos and advertising as long as the text is readable.

Play with shades. The letter shape is only one way to improve your headline font. You can enhance the effect by working on your custom color combination. You want to come up with a unique palette that will stick in the reader’s mind and be associated with your company or project.

Rule #3 – Adapt your font to people with poor sight

You don’t want to cut off the considerable portion of the audience simply because they weren’t able to see the letters on your webpage or business card. Getting readability 100% right and making text inclusive for everyone is a nearly impossible task; yet, there are shortcuts.

General guidelines to font inclusivity:

  • Respect spacing. If you face the choice between a too narrow or too wide font, it’s safer to go for the second option. Going too wide is better for people with weak eyesight since the letters are more comfortable to identify.
  • Choose bold fonts. The majority of them have the following variations – normal, medium, bold, extra bold, and black. Bold and Extra Bold are the best choices – the medium one is not visible enough, while black makes the letters challenging to understand.
  • Avoid excessively round styles. Take a look at the Happy Monkey at the picture below – see how wide the letters seem to be? It makes the text seem long; even if readers understand the letters, they won’t grasp the meaning behind them.
Rules Of Styling

To keep your fonts accessible to all readers, remember that you should care not about individual letters but the bigger picture – words and sentences. If people can’t get the meaning behind the symbols, your work ends up wasted.

Rule #4 – ALL CAPS is a standard form for a readable headline

Did you notice that the majority of Youtube videos and reputable editorials choose CAPS for the main headline (H1)? In informal and official communication alike, CAPS attracts the reader’s attention and separates the headline from other page contents.

Why Not Do Headlines Like This?

Starting each word with a capital letter is acceptable for H2 and H3, but for the main headline, it’s generally a terrible idea. Eyes have to jump between different height levels. Readers have to switch from the capital and regular letters and end up missing out on the overall message.

there is another option

On certain exceptional occasions, keeping all letters small works well, too. You might’ve noticed this on Youtube videos – such formatting is common for storytimes and something-went-wrong type of content.

There is a logic behind this stylistic choice: small letters feel casual and informal. If you keep a friendly tone of communication with your audience and want to stand out from the competition, this is an excellent way of achieving the effect.

Rules Of Styling

If you want to keep the style informal, you can format a headline like a sentence, starting only the first word with the capital letter. It’s a recommended format for email titles and blog posts.

Rule #5 – Work on custom kerning

Developing custom kerning is undoubtedly too much work for a blog post or an email, but if you work on printed material or advertising, it’s a must-do step. Start by picking a font with a balanced spacing already, and improve upon these default settings.

You don’t want letters to stick out in the middle of while spaces or, on the other hand, looking crowded. Kerning is edited with regards to page format and background – the option that fits for your website might look bad on the poster.

Kerning can be edited in graphics editors like Photoshop or on custom web platforms. Both of these options are easy and amateur but work well enough for necessary scopes. For professional editing, use dedicated software – Vision is a nice one.

Examples of successful headline design


Rules Of Styling

The headline catches the viewer’s attention immediately. Text spacing, alignment, and bold – these aspects are well-balanced and create a wholesome picture. Pay attention to the size – it’s much bigger than the rest of the text; just by glancing at the headline, the viewer understands what the ad is about.


Rules Of Styling

The minimalistic font and comfortable alignment make the text easy to read. There is a lot of space left on the page – the layout doesn’t feel cluttered. Notice the balance between H1 and the slogan. The second sentence is smaller than the main headline, yet big enough to catch immediate attention. Combining the headline with slogans is a useful strategy since it balances the page out.

Stylistic choices

Rules Of Styling

The website dedicated to the Star Wars-based game used a custom font for delivering the right atmosphere to the page. Even without reading the text body, the reader already can guess the contents of the page. The font feels familiar to the target audience and encourages further on-page interactions.


In a successful headline style, less is usually more. Instead of striving to combine several artistic solutions, stick to the single stylistic vision. For business materials (advertising or websites), opting in favor of simple fonts like Quinta Pro or Simplifica.

Rules Of Styling

In thematic projects, taking risks pays off more often than not. Don’t be afraid to step out of standards and take inspiration from movies, TV shows, brands. Artists know how to steal and re-interpret, so use the creative vision of others to enrich your audience’s experience.


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