A prevailing trend I keep seeing in web design– and also in quite a handful of premium WordPress themes out there– is small font sizes. We’ve come a long way since the old days of Geocities-style websites, and we can finally say good design is finally getting its well deserved attention. But what about typography? It seems the use of exceedingly small font sizes simply refuses to give way, and we still have trouble to accept larger font sizes as an important design element.

Readability Comes First

If content is king, then readability should be the throne on which the king sits. There is no point on creating great content if it cannot be easily consumed, and having good typography is one of the most important aspects to accomplish that. You must always try to remove any obstacle your users may face when accessing your site to provide a good user experience. This includes using a font size that is at least 14px or 16px for optimum readability.

This is critical for sites that routinely publish articles and posts, since most of their appeal comes from the information in each one. Hard to read articles are less likely to be read or shared, at least compared to ones that are highly readable and scannable.

Font Size Is Part of The Design

When we think about design, the first thing that crosses our heads is layout, colors, images… but typography counts too. In fact, most people often favor the attractivenes of a design when looking for a WordPress theme. This can result in a bad content experience, as small font sizes have (erroneously) been associated to clean, professional web design. Keep in mind that users will always come for your content, not to appreciate how good your site looks.

If you’re looking for a great WordPress theme, make sure you choose one that has a decent font size, or at least gives you an option to change it. But if you already have an established site, don’t worry. You can change the overall size with a few tweaks.

Setting a Better Font Size

If you’re using a WordPress theme, you may be able to tweak it for a better font size than the one it comes with. This really depends on the theme itself, as some like to set their sizes in absolute values (in pixels), while others use relative sizes across their stylesheet (in ems or rems).

To modify your theme’s font size, you must be able to safely modify the CSS stylesheet first. If you’re using one of our themes, you can do so simply by going to the Theme Options, and start typing in the Custom CSS field, simple as that. If you’re using a different theme, you can install one of the many plugins available to add CSS changes (WooDojo from Woothemes does a fine job).

Then, simply add the following rule to your CSS field:

body { font-size:16px; }

You can set the size to any of your liking, though at the very least 14px is recommended. If your theme uses relative values for its font sizes across the entire site, setting the font-size in the body should immediately scale up your site with barely any issues whatsoever.