There’s a growing trend in graphic design lately to avoid using www before a domain name when you are typesetting a website listing. I’m noticing a lot of business cards and promotional colladeral that avoid using the www subdomain. I started to take notice and did a little research but it’s a tricky thing to search for since it yields a ton of technical responses.
There are lots of articles that explain the technical pros and cons of using www or not. There are even movements to abolish the www as depracated. I’m staying out of that argument for now. Regarding the technical side of things, suffice to say that if you redirect things correctly, it makes little or no difference which one you use (but you should use just one).
This article is not about the technical side of the question though, it’s about graphic design, typsetting and typography. If we’ve established that there’s no technical advantage or disadvantage, then it’s really just a question of style. So in those terms, should you triple dub dot or not?
It’s my opinion that designers should use the www subdomain when typesetting a website address (at least at this point in time). Why am I bucking the trend?
Here are some reasons why:
- Clarity: I think it is clearer for the reader, especially if you aren’t labeling the domain as a website (eg: website: domain.com).
- Differentiation: It distinguishes the website from other addresses like email and Twitter handles.
- Consistency: Others are likely to list the website with the www, whether you like it or not.
- Expectation: Readers are accustomed to the www and it provides a visual cue that they instantly recognize. Many users type the www, regardless of whether you list it or not.
- Continuity: I often see websites listed without the www (domain.com) but the actual website is redirecting to the www version (www.domain.com). If you are going to drop the www from your business card, make sure your site doesn’t use it either.
Sure, it’s unnecessary, I get that. Some argue that it just takes up space and if the domain is long, there’s strength to that argument.
I believe the most important factor in determining its use or not is the standard of the brand. If you are typestting the domain for a client and they consistently use the www, don’t drop if because it’s your preferred style. Follow their standard.
So, what do you think? Do you use the www or not? I’d love to hear some other opinions on the subject.