How To Choose A Font

How To Choose A Font

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Have you ever had the problem of not knowing what typeface to use? Well of course you have, everyone has. This is a guide on how to choose a font.

These pointers have been gathered from Robin Williams great book “The Non-Designers Type Book” that I recommended in the top 5 typography resources of all time.

Have a think about each of these before choosing your next font.

Choose a category of type

  • Choose a type face that you think will match your work. ie. Oldstyle, Modern, Slab Serif, Sans Serif, Script, Decorative. Unsure of your type categories?

Quality of printer & paper

  • Where are you getting your piece printed? If you are printing from a low resolution printer, your subtle font characteristics such as delicate serifs or fine lines will not get printed. (eg. fax machines, photo copier). Is the paper going to without the ink and quality? eg. Newspapers will absorb ink and lose finer details.

How much text is there to read? What is its purpose?

  • Are you designing for a poster, a book, a report? What is more important – readability or aesthetics? What is the purpose of the text? A serious look, a casual look, a decorative look?

How much space do you need to fill? Or leave unfilled?

  • Different typefaces take up different amounts of space, even at the same point size. Try comparing two fonts next to each other and see how much difference they take up in room.

Is the project to be skimmed or be really read?

  • Choose a typeface and layout that suits its purpose.

An exercise method for next time you choose a font…

  • Know your output method and final reproduction process to narrow down your font choices.
  • Decide on the look you want to convey.
  • If you use more than one font, make sure the fonts are very different from each   other. If they are not very different it looks like a mistake. eg. Use an oldstyle font for the body text and and a bold sans serif for the headline.
  • Don’t be afraid to use wild fonts where they are appropriate and use it sparingly. Don’t be a wimp.

For further reading on how to choose a font check out or for a more advanced ‘how to’ check out Typies, 15 tips to choose a good typeface.

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How to choose a font infographic

How to choose a font infographic

Thanks to Fundera for the infographic.

How do you go about choosing a font or typeface?

40 thoughts on “How To Choose A Font”

  1. Its often the first and most important decision… Now font choices are opening up it will be a double edged sword… good designers will use well and the many, many novices out there will turn the web into an unreadable nightmare!

    Good article thank you

  2. This is a great article – with there being so many fonts freely available to anyone and everyone on the web, I think a lot of brands/web designers lose site of this simple yet important information. A great article that I’ll be bookmarking! Thanks!

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