CSS: Typography

We saw how to color elements, how to position them, and how to add spacing around them.

One of the most important things on the Web of course is words.

The written word.

This paragraph you’re reading, for example.

Look at how nice it looks! It’s thanks to CSS.

Let’s talk about CSS typography and how to style words on a Web page.

The first thing I can talk about is setting the font.

We do so using the font-family property.

What you typically do on the Web is, load a font from a fonts service like Google Fonts for example, and you set that as the font of your text.

Here’s what I do on my website to have a custom font.

I load the font from Google Fonts, including this in the head tag of the page:

<link href="https://fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Inter:wght@300;400;700&display=swap" rel="stylesheet">

Then I set this font, called Inter, to be my main font:

body {
  font-family: 'Inter';

You don’t have to load a font from a 3rd party like Google Fonts.

You can load a built-in font.

Trouble is, you never know which font is installed on a system, so what you do is you set a generic font family.

For example

font-family: serif;

or sans-serif or monospace or cursive or others.

A description of the available font families can be found here, but what happens usually is we set a font we’d like to have, like Georgia, and if it’s not available, we tell the browser to apply the generic serif font

body {
  font-family: Georgia, serif;

Here I use body as the selector, to mean “apply to the whole body” and every child of body (which means .. every element in the page) inherits it.

You can apply a generic font used by the whole body, and also different fonts to different elements, by using font-family on another selector.

Next up is font size.

The font-size property is used to determine the size of fonts. You set it to a length value, like px, em, rem.


p {
  font-size: 20px;

line-height is used to change the height of a line. Each line of text has a certain font height, but then there is additional spacing vertically between the lines. You can set it like this:

p {
  line-height: 0.9rem;

Text can be aligned left, center, or right, using text-align:

p {
  text-align: center;

font-weight sets the thickness of a font. You can use those predefined values:

  • normal
  • bold
  • bolder (which makes the font bolder relative to the parent element)
  • lighter (which makes the font lighter relative to the parent element)

Or you can use the numeric keywords from 100 to 900 where 100 is the lightest font, and 900 is the boldest:

  • 100
  • 200
  • 300
  • 400, equivalent to normal
  • 500
  • 600
  • 700 equivalent to bold
  • 800
  • 900

Lessons in this unit:

0: Introduction
1: Colors
2: More selectors
3: Cascade
4: Specificity
5: Units
6: Advanced selectors
7: ▶︎ Typography
8: The box model
9: The display property
10: Responsive design
11: DEMO Create a simple design
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