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6 Headline Design Tips To Grab Attention From The First Glance

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

Join me at the forefront of web design and digital marketing innovation. I am obsessed with web design, business philosophy and marketing performance.
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Are you having trouble getting readers past your headlines? You have a beautifully designed and functional website, but poor headline design works like a filter, preventing users from exploring your website content. 

They say we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But in a highly competitive market and with user attention span getting lower and lower, that is exactly what your web visitors do. Users will use your headlines to make a quick judgment about your blog posts, ads, or website pages and decide if they should keep reading or hit the back button. 

We’ve all lost some customers due to underperforming headline designs; it’s part of the learning process. After working on over 500 design projects, I learned some valuable strategies on how to create headlines that, at first glance, engage users to continue reading your content

In this article, I’ll share with you the strategies my web design agency in Chicago uses to create attractive headlines. These are essential heading design tips that, when applied correctly, have a huge impact on your website performance.

Table of Contents:
Headline design

Are Headlines The Most Important Element of Your Website Design?

Your headlines are the first design element your web visitors’s eyes land upon. Its primary purpose is to draw your audience’s attention fats and set the tone for the rest of the page or body copy.

As a designer, you may write your heading yourself or hire a professional writer to do it. After you or the writer come up with some clever, catchy words, you may think your headline tasks are over. Well, that’s not true. 

To achieve its goals – communicate valuable information, let readers know they are at the right place, and encourage them to continue reading – a good headline must be accompanied by a good design. Therefore, it should be an essential point of your website planning guide. Your headline design should be the most visually dominant element of the page, leading eyes directly to it. 

6 Tips To Engage Readers With Your Headline Design 

Since the headline will set the tone for the rest of the page, you must dedicate enough resources, time, and effort to it when designing websites. Before approaching the design, take these questions into consideration:

  • What styles and typography better convey the heading message?
  • Will my target audience read the heading on a mobile app or on larger screens?
  • Can I use headline templates, or does this project call for a personalized design?

Once you know how your blog or form UI design heading should look like, you can start brainstorming ideas for its design. For that, you can use these valuable tips that guarantee headline designs that attract users and leave them wanting more.

Text Cases – Your First Step Should Be Choosing The Right One

Text cases examples for headline design

When working on headlines, you can write in different cases, the top three choices being: 

  • Title case
  • Sentence case
  • All caps

Which case delivers the most optimal headline design? That will highly depend on your headline goals and the overall tone of your website or blog post. At Alpha Efficiency, I opt for a title case for my blog pieces, which means I capitalize all major words. I chose this option because it enhances readability while providing added emphasis to my headings.

I also base my choice on a 2023 Moz study that determined that 64% of readers preferred title cases. The same study also found that the second largest percentage – 21% – are headings with all caps. While I wouldn’t recommend you start writing all your headlines in all capitals, it can be a good strategy if it works with your layout, looks good on your chosen font, and doesn’t impair readability. 

Typography And Font Can Make or Break Your Headlines

Typography in web design is the heart of your written content. For body copy, you want a font that is easy to read and won’t outshine your text. But for headlines, you can – and should – get more creative. 

For headings, you want to move past standard typography and choose fonts that are designed for headlines. You have plenty of options to pick from; top headline font choices include:

  • Serif fonts are one of the most chosen options for classic and traditional designs. This font family projects a sense of professionalism or authority, making it ideal for serious or formal content.
  • Sans-serif fonts have a contemporary appearance, perfect for modern designs. The feeling of minimalism and simplicity they convey works excellent for more informal or casual content. 
  • Display fonts were designed to draw the readers’ attention. Hence, they are ideal for bold headlines. Depending on the font you choose, your headings can express a variety of moods and styles, from playful and whimsical to dramatic and eccentric. 
  • Scrip typefaces are a good option for sophisticated designs. Their resemblance to calligraphy and handwriting evokes feelings of luxury and creativity, perfect for high-end products. 

The font you select must speak your brand identity but also be readable and catch the reader’s eye.

When none of the traditional options work for your design, you can opt for custom fonts. If you are building your website on Elementor, learning how to add font in WordPress Elementor can be extremely helpful.

Size It Up: Make Your Headlines Stand Out

What can you do to make a headline more compelling? Size it up!

Headlines must be larger than other texts surrounding them to ensure they stand out and grab the reader’s attention. If you could only change one element to make your headlines better, it would be increasing the font size. 

How much larger should your headlines be? As a general rule, your heading size should be about 2.5x the size of the rest of the body copy. That will guarantee your audience reads the ad, web page, or blog post headings first. 

Choose Headline Colors That Enhance Readability

Headline colors tips

When trying to make a headline stand out, you probably think about using bold, bright colors. Yes, bright colors are eye-catching and would get your readers’ attention. However, some colors may have a negative impact on tour headline designs. 

Bright colors can make a web page or ad heading more attractive to the eye, but it will also make it more difficult to read. Most people find it challenging to read headings in bright, shiny colors. On the other hand, most individuals find black, dark colors easier to read. 

Your best bet is to stick to a black heading or a dark color palette.  

The heading color you choose will also depend on the background color of your web page. I recommend you go for a color that contrasts with your background color palette. A light color headline will work well on a dark background but would fade out on a light one, and vice versa. 

Get Creative With White Space Between Letterforms

As a designer, you probably know how crucial white space is. When it comes to heading design, the space surrounding the headline can contribute to its message – or break it. 

A good rule of thumb is to leave plenty of white space around the heading so the reader won’t get distracted by surrounding elements such as other text, buttons, or images. 

You can also make good use of the white space between letterforms to enhance your heading message. A good example of this practice is the hidden arrow on the FedEx logo.

The key to using white space right is to see how letterforms work together within the composition. Too little white space will make your heading seem crowded and lower its readability. Conversely, too much white space can overwhelm readers and compromise your heading message.

Pair Typefaces And Alternate Glyphs To Give Your Headlines A Unique Edge

Pair typefaces and alternate glyphs

When done well, pairing different fonts or typeface variations together can give your headlines a unique look. For example, you can use different typefaces to give emphasis to an important word within your heading. 

The key to a successful typeface pairing is making sure the fonts work well together; for that, contrasting styles is often a good idea. Working with fonts that are too similar can make them clash and compete for the spotlight.

You can also use different variations within a font glyph palette to spice up a heading for a luxury website design. Those alternatives can be an added shadow or a decorative ornament on a letter. Ensure to use decorative glyphs in moderation; excessive ornaments can make your heading look amateur. Look for unnecessary negative space between letters and fill the void with intentional glyphs. 

Ready To Design Headlines That Attract New Visitors To Your Website?

Heading design is a fundamental part of a website designer’s job. Overlooking this step can make your headings blend within the page or be overshadowed by the rest of the content. 

A weak heading means your web pages won’t have the power to attract readers from the moment they land on your website. Without that first good impression, it’s unlikely users will engage with your content and continue to explore your site. 

By learning and applying the 6 design tips from this article, you will create heading designs that make your headlines stand out and get readers’ attention within the first second. Soon, you will see your website conversion rates start to increase as you easily land more clients. 

Is your website underperforming due to poor heading design? I could gladly help you optimize your heading to attract more customers. 

Schedule a call with me; we can work together to create million-dollar headings that enhance your website designs.

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