If you’re a Graphic Designer, I’m guessing you’d have over a thousand fonts installed on your PC already, right?
If that’s the case, you probably have gone through the hassle of trying to pick a perfect font for your design(s), and as anyone knows, finding a needle in a haystack is a tedious task. That is why I’ve written this short post to help you out of the dilemma.
Let’s start with the basics.
Why Seek The Right Font?
Fonts convey meaning, just like colors. You probably know that red could mean danger and yellow, youthfulness, but how well do you know the meaning of the fonts you pick?
Considering that for most designs, text constitutes over 30% of the entire content, it means mastering the skill of font selection could be the key to taking your designs to the next level — a huge boost to the final product, don’t you think?
So, let’s dive right in.
How to Become a Pro at Font Selection
Step 1: Know Your Fonts
For starters, we have different font classification.
- Serif: Serif fonts have a sort of extended strokes at the end of the horizontal and vertical strokes — which makes them look a bit stylish and extra.
- Sans-Serif: Are more modern and clean, without the extra strokes. The word ‘Sans’ is a French word which means ‘No’, hence ‘Sans-Serif’ literally translates to ‘No-Serif’.
- Script: They are casual and usually more stylish fonts. And can be difficult to read — they are basically for aesthetic purposes.
- Decorative/Display: All fonts not in the above categories could fall here. These fonts are mostly created for advertising purposes. They are custom-made, and elaborate.
Step 2: Master Your Font Pairings
When it comes to font pairings, the golden rules of thumb would be:
- Serif vs. Serif ✔️
- Serif vs. Sans-Serif ✔️
- Sans-Serif vs. Sans-Serif ✔️
- Sans-Serif vs. Serif ✔️
- Script vs. Serif ✔️
- Script vs. Sans-Serif ✔️
- Script vs. Script ❌
- Decorative vs. Script ❌
- Decorative vs. Serif ✔️
- Decorative vs. Sans-Serif ✔️
Note that the comparison goes this way — Heading vs. Description.
Need more help? You could adopt online font pairing tools as well. I’d recommend Google Fonts and Font Pair.
Step 3: Understand Font Psychology
You should know that:
- Serif fonts portray trust, respect, authority and formality.
- Sans-serif fonts are straightforward, modern and clean-looking.
- Script fonts are elegant, fancy, creative, sophisticated and personal.
In addition, angular fonts (fonts with sharp edges) convey seriousness, trust and stability. Round fonts on the other hand, convey comfort, friendliness and in cases of extreme rounding, playful.
(Now you know not to use sharp-edged fonts for kids’ projects).
Step 4: Consider Legibility and Versatility
The purpose of text in your design is to be read, right? Well, your audience can’t do that if your fonts are not legible (readable).
As much as the default tracking and leading looks good for most fonts, you can’t say the same for all of them, considering the font designer’s intentions may not be the same as yours.
You should also consider using fonts with different weights. Varying font weight is a great way to establish contrast in design.
Step 5: Seek Out Inspiration
You could visit sites such as:
…to name but a few, for awesome designs and typography masterpieces that reveal great font choice and usage.
You could also look around for projects that are similar to yours to see what font types are most suited.
Step 6: Know the Rules and Break Them [Like A Pro]
The truth is, design styles and trends are born from a deviation of what’s considered normal — it’s almost like art. Don’t be afraid to develop your own style and explore the infinite world of possibilities.
Cheers to better designs.
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