The right (or wrong) font may be all that stands between a perfect graphic design project and one that comes out a bit… lacking. After all, font has the ability to make or break a design—we’ve all seen those unfortunate signs or packages where the font choice looks like an inappropriate word! To save yourself some potential embarrassment, and ultimately increase the success of your project, there are a few guiding tips when it comes to font choice.
Prioritize the Brand
Whether you’re creating a project for yourself or for an established company, it’s important to keep in mind the character, tone, and emotion you’re trying to portray. For example, if you’re creating a design for a company, do some research into any designs they already have in place. What colors are they using and what is their tone? Asking yourself these questions can help guide your design choices—particularly surrounding font.
Make It Legible
It can be easy to get swept into the aesthetic of a cool font, but never sacrifice legibility for design. Your design is never more important than the message you’re trying to portray. If it takes the viewer too long to understand the text, your design has failed. To stay clear of unreadable designs, opt out of using fancy, script-like fonts, as well as uppercase fonts in longer bodies of text.
Sans and Serif: Know the Difference
The first decision many designers make is whether the font they want is serif or san serif. This choice depends on two factors: the length of your design and your audience. When it comes to long pieces of content, serif tends to be easier to read since it draws the reader’s eye across the line of text. Now, consider your audience: are they young, learning to read, or visibly impaired? If so, opt for sans as it’s easiest to read since it’s less obtrusive.
Stick to a Few
The temptation to use multiple fonts may be strong, but it’s important to keep the amount you use to a minimum. Typically, a great design will incorporate 3 fonts at most. The use of too many fonts will be distracting for the viewer or reader, as they will all be competing for attention. If you think your design needs a little more oomph, play around with different font sizes, or try making some elements italic or bold! Variation can help break up the monotony without compromising your design.
Font choice may seem intuitive—and in many ways it is—but we all fall victim to wanting increased creativity and innovation in our designs. In many cases, this experimenting can be good. However, it’s important for your design to be just as practical as it is creative. The right font choice can strike the perfect balance.