It’s funny how things become important because of your job.
I wonder how much time people that aren’t graphic designers (or artists/writers) spend thinking about fonts?
Probably not a lot, but fonts are extremely important. The right font can add weight and significance to a word. Or, a font can be used to convey whimsy and lightheartedness. Fonts evoke such strong feelings that there’s even been a documentary made about one: Helvetica.
The point being: you cannot just select Comic Sans and call it a day. The font you use says a lot about your site, your product, etc.
Choosing the Right Font
There are thousands if not millions of available fonts. With so many choices, how can you select one that’s exactly right for your project?
You should start by deciding what it is you want the font to communicate. Do you want to catch a visitor’s attention with a shout or a whisper? Do you want to convey a fun or serious atmosphere? Is your message about fun or luxury? Find a font that expresses your message.
Now type a few words in your selected font and ask two questions:
- Does this send the intended message?
- Can a visitor read it?
That last question is extremely important. You may have selected an elegant font, but if every F looks like a Q, your message will be lost due to visitor confusion and annoyance. It’s easy to become distracted by all of the font options. Don’t let flash and glitz distract you from the most important element: legibility.
Fonts come in two main styles:
- Serif – these fonts have small lines or “feet” attached to them. This makes them easier to read on a line. Fonts with serifs are generally advised for large sections of text.
- Sans Serif – these are literally fonts without serifs. These fonts are good for titles and headers. They are difficult to read as body text.
- Monospaced – these fonts look like type from a typewriter, where each character has an equal width. It’s generally advised to stay away from monospaced fonts for anything other than a spreadsheet.
Most of the time it is advisable that you only choose two fonts for anything your designing: a sans serif for headers and serif for text.
Were you to use several different fonts on a single page the result would be a chaotic mess. Think of a high school notebook with doodles in every area of white space, and you’ll get the idea.
Choose fonts that complement each other. You can use different styles and sizes to create contrast. You’ll be shocked at all the different things that just two fonts can do.
When designing a website, things get a little tricky. Each personal device comes with a pre-installed font selection, which is based largely on the device’s operating system.
What this means is if you select the perfect font for your site and it can’t be read on a Galaxy Note, your site will look like a mess to that visitor.
Things have gotten a little easier than they were just a few years ago with the introduction of services like Google Fonts, but if you run into trouble there are some fonts that are 100 percent web safe, such as:
- Arial / Arial Black
- Times / Times New Roman
- Courier / Courier New
- Trebuchet MS
- Bookman / Bookman Old Style
- Comic Sans MS
A web-safe font may not have been your first choice, but they’re a great option when your first choice doesn’t work out.
Choosing the right font can transform even the dullest topic into something much more eye-catching and captivating.
Need help transforming your marketing materials from drab to fab? Call The Trade Group at 800-343-2005.
Click on the image below to view our simplified infographic!