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by Michael P. Hill July 28, 2015

For years, Web designers, including those working on Shopify themes, were stuck with using only a handful of fonts on websites because, in order to ensure pages were displayed consistently, it was vital to only uses fonts that users would be likely to have installed on their computers — so for years the Web was awash with a rather boring selection of fonts, including Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman and Times.

But with the rise of the webfont technology, it’s now possible to use almost any font consistently in Shopify themes and other websites. Webfonts do, however, require special files and code — as well as be properly licensed for use on the Web in order to use them legally.

To help make the process of using webfonts easier and cost effectively, Google offers a great free service called Google Fonts. The service was first launched in 2010 and offers a wide selection of open source fonts that can be easily utilized on websites. Since the fonts are all open source, there’s never a fee to use them — and Google also takes care of the servers needed to store the files at no cost.

Out of the Sandbox has integrated its premium Shopify themes with the best of the best Google fonts — which can be easily selected using the typography menu in the your theme control panel.

Shopify Typography Control Panel

To access this, simply click “Online Store” in you main admin panel navigation bar, then select “Themes” in the sub-menu that appears. Then, select the blue “Customize Your Theme” button in the upper right corner to be taken to the integrated theme editor.

Selecting the “Typography” option from the menu selections on the right side and you’ll be able to use the dropdown menus to select the fonts you’d like to use under the Google Web Font menus. You’ll also want to make sure that you have the Google Web Font option selected in the radio buttons above each set of dropdowns.

While it’s easy to get carried away with using all these great fonts, keep in mind that it’s best to restrict your Shopify theme to one to three fonts — which not only helps make your site more visually appealing but also speeds up load times since there are less font files to load.

Here are some of our favorite Google Fonts, all of which are integrated into Out of the Sandbox themes already:

Roboto

Roboto was originally developed by Google for its Android phones but is also available for free on any device. This font, which is actually used on the Out of the Sandbox site, is super legible, even at small sizes, so it makes a great option for any Shopify store. If your store has a large number of mobile users, it’s definitely worth considering this font. The font is, however, a bit more modern and blocky, so it may not be the best option for stores that need a softer look.

Cabin

Another very clear and legible typeface, Cabin has a bit of a softer look and gives off a more friendly vibe. It’s a great choice for Shopify themes that sell outdoor products and handmade items.

Bonus: Another good option that has a similar look and feel of Cabin is Lato.

Corben

This font has a bit of a vintage, old school look and feel — so it’s a great pick for Shopify themes used for stores selling handmade items and luxury goods.

Bonus: For a similar retro look, check out Josefin and Josefin Slab.

Arvo

Fun and friendly, this easy to read font is a great option for Shopify stores selling kids or baby goods, but could be equally suited for handmade goods or even clothing.

Bonus: Kreon has a similar look and feel as Arvo.

Open Sans

Open Sans, which is available in both a regular and condensed version, is another widely used Google Font that’s highly legible. This font is so versatile that it can easily be used for everything from technology and electronics Shopify stores to high fashion and kids stores. The condensed version, meanwhile, is a great option for headings and navigation bars where space may be limited but you don’t want to sacrifice legibility.

Lora

Lora is a clean font that has a bit more of a traditional look — it’s similar to popular fonts such as Georgia and Times New Roman, but its subtle differences will give your Shopify theme a standout look. Lora is very versatile and could be used on almost any store — but is particularly well suited for fashion and luxury Shopify stores.

Parisienne

This is a lightweight and friendly script typeface that could be a great fit for fashion or cosmetic sites. However, since it’s a script font and a bit harder to read, you’ll likely want to restrict using this font (and other script fonts) to headings at larger sizes rather than smaller, more detailed text such as product descriptions.

Using other Google Fonts

In addition to the great selection of Google Fonts that come preconfigured into Out of the Sandbox themes, it's possible to integrate any of hundreds of fonts available on the platform using these instructions.

Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn.

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