Why Choosing The Right Fonts For Your Designs Matters
“Wait, what does that say? Hand? Hard? Hold? What?” This is exactly what you don’t want your customers to experience when they try to read your designs. Be it your ads, logos, the slogan for your brand, or anything in between, choosing the right fonts makes a big difference! You might find yourself thinking but why the big fuss? Like that lovely cursive font looks super great – so why can’t you just use it in your design??
Sure you can use it. But what if your customers either misread it as something else entirely? Simply give up because it is not clear? Or scroll past because that font did not make a powerful enough impact? Well then, you are going to learn the hard way, why choosing the right font is so important.
When you are given so many options of different fonts to choose from, how can you make the right choices? A font can literally make or break a design and can also personify what you are trying to tell your customers. So, to start off with, it’s important to know what you to factor in when you choose a font.
Things to consider when you pick your font
#1 – It has got to do with your branding
The font that you pick has to be able to embody the spirit and the character of your brand. For example, let’s say your brand name is Fearless. What would you think looks and resonates better? A strong, minimal and bold font or one that has flowery cursive details? The strong, minimal and bold one!
#2 – How legible is the font?
If people have to spend time squinting their eyes to read what’s on the design, they will not read it, period. Try as much as possible to avoid using overly fancy fonts. They might have lots of twists and turns that look good, but they’ll be harder to read. The same applies to using uppercase text in a large amount of copy, because that strains the eyes of the reader. If you want to get decorative, keep those fonts for the titles and the headlines only. You also have to keep in mind that the font you choose, has to work well in many different sizes and weights. This is so that there is good readability no matter what the size of the text is, or what the size of the screen is. Take a look at the image below.
The text in the example above is clearly visible and readable, right? Now take a look at this cursive script called Vivaldi, below. It is a beautiful script no doubt, but it becomes rather hard to read when you modify the size and that could make an entire design obsolete.
#3 – To Sans or to Serif?
One of the areas that you need to factor in, is the length of the copy on the design. Typically, Serif is easier to read in lengthy texts as opposed to Sans. This is because of the fact that Serif fonts will help your eyes travel along the line easily. You also need to think of your target audience. Sans is a font that is better used to address kids, anybody learning to read, or those who have visual impairments.
#4 – What are web safe fonts?
It is always a smart decision to use web safe fonts. These happen to be fonts that are supported by all the major web browsers, by default. Some of the Sans fonts that fall into this category are:
Some of the Serif types are;
- Times New Roman
#5 – Avoid using too many fonts in one design
Limit the number of fonts that you use in a design to just 2 or 3. Better yet, play with different sizes of the same font, or pick fonts that belong in the same font family. When you try to put too much in there, it just becomes busy.
But, if you can strike the balance with just 2 fonts or different sizes, it can look quite impressive too.
Choosing the right fonts for outdoor signage
If your design is going to be displayed at a distance (think billboards and storefront signage), research says that Sans-Serif fonts will leave the best and clearest impression. They are both easy to read immediately and fonts like Helvetica, Arial, Verdana and Open Sans are recommended. You should also use bigger font sizes and keep messages powerful but as short as possible. Ideally, try and keep the character limit below 250.
Avoid cramming text into a corner of the design, keep it aligned, and evenly spaced out. When it comes to the colour of the fonts that you are using, decide this based on the colour of the background. White lettering on a green or black setting will stand out while blue lettering in a yellow background might not be that legible.
Choosing the right fonts for print
There are quite a few fonts that you can use in print, depending upon where they will be placed. In the body copy, if the text is small in size you can use Helvetica, Verdana, Leitura News or Electra. On the headlines you can use font styles like Chunk, Lovelo, Archive or Mission Script. Remember that when you choose the headline font and the body copy font, the two will have to complement each other.
Hold Up!!! How do you know which fonts to pair together?
Who knew picking the right font can be that much of a task right? But don’t worry, there are guidelines that can help you figure out which fonts to pair with what, so that your design maintains that cohesive and logical flow to it while making an impact.
Serif and Sans Serif make a terrific pair.
These two were definitely a match made in font heaven so if you want to strike that ultimate contemporary polished balance, this is the perfect pairing to go ahead with. Consider trying out Didonesque (serif) + Geo Sans Light or Rozha One + Hero Sans.
Want to design a poster that is catchy? Display and Sans Serifs are a great combination. In this case, you can bring together a big and bold display font with a sans serif that is rather simple and straight up. Bungee and Lovelo are two very good examples of Display fonts that are just perfect for headlines.
Feeling like some Instagram Inspo? Then pair up script fonts with serifs.
Script fonts are not easy to read, but they are beautiful. So the trick here is to size them just right and use them sparingly. A font like Silverline Script is one that has some serious flair to it, especially when you bring that together with the laid-back serif fonts like Harting or Underwood Champion.
Here are a few more pairing recommendations that you can try out on the web:
- Montserrat and Courier New
- Calvert and Acumin
- Pacifico and Quicksand
- Julius Sans One and Archivo Narrow
- Oswald and Lato
Also while you are at it, make use of this cool cheat sheet that lists out 22 different fonts and shows you how well each combination will come together. They’re categorized as:
- 1 = combine as you want
- 2 = you’re daring
- 3 = rethink maybe?
The tips above are great when you know the fonts that you’re considering pairing. But what about when you cannot figure out what a specific font is? Enter WhatTheFont. The site uses deep learning to search over 133,000 font styles and tries to match it up with the one that you are on the lookout for. Simply upload the image of the font and click on the font that you want to hunt down. Make sure that the image is of good quality and that the text on it is horizontal.
Sometimes, you may want to download the fonts that you need, but may not really be able to pay. If that is the case, these are some of the resources that you can use.
- FontM – ok, so they don’t have the biggest font collection but what they do have is free. They have laid it out into categories so that you are able to identify what you want.
- DaFont – this is one massive archive of fonts that can be downloaded freely. You can browse in order of the alphabet, the style, the popularity, author, or the listing. Many of these fonts are more on the fun side and less on the professional but if you are looking for something that is novelty themed, this is perfect.
- In addition to these two there are other sites as well such Open FoundryThe league of moveable type, Lost Type Co-op, My Fonts – Free Fonts, and Font Squirrel that helps you find the right font easily.
You might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by all that goes into choosing the right fonts. So we’ve got some examples of the types of fonts a few different brands have chosen to use. Perhaps, seeing these fonts in action can help you understand some of the recommendations that we have made above.
Zara, Tiffany & Co. and Abercrombie & Fitch use Serif fonts.
Serifs are rather popular with businesses that are looking to give out that feel of elegance, sophistication, and finesse. These loos also carry timeless reliability, traditional and respectable air with them. This font is also known to make the reader feel like the brand is well-established. Organizations that are in the fields of education, editorials or finance can make use of Serifs.
On the other hand, brands like LinkedIn, Calvin Klein, and the guardian use Sans Serifs fonts.
Sans Serif fonts give you a clean and no-nonsense vibe. They are clear and they also look rather modern while capturing the attention of the reader or viewer. They look polished and make for designs that are sleek and professional.
Sony, Volvo and Honda use Slab Serif fonts that are chunky and bold.
These fonts are loud, bold, and all about that power-packed image. They exude confidence as well as dependability. They also have an air of creativity owing to all those big and heavy lines. If a brand wants to make themselves known with a big splash or wants to communicate that they are innovative and they are here to make a change, these fonts could possibly be the way to go.
Instagram for example, uses a script font (cursive) and so does Coca-Cola and Cadillac.
With script fonts, there is a feeling of elegance, freedom, creativity and even a degree of femininity. Because they have a curved flourish to them, they speak of a personalized approach to business. If your brand is one that wants to come across as different, artsy and thoughtful, these fonts will be well suited for you.
Fanta and Lego on the other hand uses decorative fonts that are fun and quirky.
If you want to really make a mark that you are original as a brand and that you are unique in every way, playing around with decorative fonts can convey the message. They look fun, creative and peppy while also being rather fun and vibrant.
And with that, it’s over to you…
Phew, that was font-astic wasn’t it? The next time you think of working on a design, stop and think what fonts would make the best and biggest impact. Take your time to play around with different styles and sizes, the colours and textures that come with fonts, and see what works and what would not. Even if you already have a brand style guide you can always try a bit of experimenting. You can be the best designer in the world, but choosing the right fonts plays a big role in ensuring your designs actually make an impression.