Is my Shopify website font size too small?

By Ilana Davis

I was talking with another designer about font sizing. They stated their preference for 12 point font, I stated mine of 16 pixels.

It felt like a political debate on proper font sizing for a website. We were on two different sides and you couldn’t change either of our minds no matter the reasoning. We had gone around in circles on this for far too long.

We’re not wrong.

A resolution to the so-called argument came when I remembered English class instructions.

“Papers must use 12 point font” – preventing know-it-alls from turning in a paper with fonts so large, it takes up the entire page.

That’s when it hit me. Most books are also printed in 12 point font for ease of readability. Compared to that, 16 pixels must sound huge.

Is there a difference between points and pixels?

Designers use point font sizing because that’s what’s used for print design.

Web designers use pixels, as in the smallest measurement on the screen.

I prefer to use rem because it’s responsive to the various devices. I digress and that’s a rabbit hole for another day.

I’ll stick with pixels for this article because most Shopify themes use pixels.

How were we both right?

The equivalent of a 12 point font size on paper is equal to 16 pixels font size on a website. We were saying the same thing, but using different terminology.

Point Pixel Text
9pt 12px Can you read me now?
10pt 13.3px Can you read me now?
11pt 14.7px Can you read me now?
12pt 16px Can you read me now?
13pt 17.3px Can you read me now?
14pt 18.7px Can you read me now?
15pt 20px Can you read me now?
16pt 21.3px Can you read me now?
17pt 22.7px Can you read me now?
18pt 24px Can you read me now?

Many store owners who aren’t designers likely didn’t know there was a difference between the two.

How do I know this?

When I visit websites and see font sizing as small as 12 or 13 pixels, it’s clear to me that there is still confusion between points and pixels.

Increase the paragraph font size to 16 pixels and headers to at least 24 pixels so we can all read what you’ve got to say. If you’re not a believer, test it out for a few weeks before you make your mind up.

Going from 12 pixels to 16 pixels must feel huge when you’ve been using 12 pixels thinking it’s points.

Make the jump and you may surprise yourself with the feedback you get from your customers. I’ve never had a customer say 16 pixels is too big.

Using 16 pixel font on your Shopify website is the smallest size for all text to ensure the best readability for everyone. Fixing font sizing is just one of the many things I do as part of a Website Rescue.


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