Tips for Picking Fonts that Compliment Your Message not Distract From it
So you have researched on the content, created the message and curated, sorted, written, proofread and re checked everything! Now comes the formatting, what pictures to go with, what colors to settle on, what fonts to pick? So let’s take the difficult subject of choosing the right fonts. There are tonnes of those, there are many variations in each type. Which fonts would compliment your message without excessive distraction? Let us talk about a few basic things that one needs to keep in mind while choosing the perfect fonts for your project. I will not cover all the aspects but a few that I have found that we need the most help with.
Staying close to the message: Staying close to the language that the project demands, one could go with a font that cannot go wrong. For example comic styles that work best with kids projects, or the formal types that go well with magazines and news sites. While contrasting we can also stick to the theme by using suitable contrasting technique. For example having 2 types of fonts with spacing contrast is common with news sites.
The less the better: Before you begin narrowing down, remember that one cannot go overboard with the number of fonts. Fewer the font, the better it is. Crazy variety is never appreciated with a few exceptions. Sure if your project is something like a Geronimo Stilton book, experiment by all means. But for regular, not so crazy projects, lesser the number of styles, the better.
Establish the headlines and the body: Headlines and sub-headings need to be clear on which fonts will be used. Quotes and excerpts along with any other elements like website flash boxes and side notes should have clearly defined fonts they will be using. Again, it is important that they add to the message rather than diluting its purpose.
Avoid conflicting fonts: Using odd combinations that conflict in the way they look don’t usually go very well. Do look at the proportions and see if your fonts help in contrast or just look awkward together. Avoid the combo if it looks like a mess. Fonts should contrast in many cases but not conflict with each other in terms of how they are perceived vis a vis the message.
Using contrast: Sure it’s a good idea to create contrast. You could contrast with size, weight, spacing, color and even style if you want. You don’t have to be an expert to see how it works out. Just lay out the content, experiment with the contrast and see if it suits the media, message and the market! In other words, will it look good on the media it will display on? Does it serve the message it is out to broadcast and the target audience’s fashion/style appetite.
Being safe with font families: Staying within the same font family will be a design conservatism that you can hardly go wrong with. If you want to keep it safe and if the project so demands, stay within the same font family when picking the entire range of fonts for the project. Else if the project demands creative use of variety, go right ahead and break this rule.
Being industry specific: To help selecting easily, I would suggest checking out online guides that talk about industry specific fonts. There are fonts for publication related works and then there are fonts for Fashion industry. From military applications to travel, from food and recipe to automobiles, every industry is used to some standard types. You can search for fonts that suit your application and that should also help you choosing the fonts that stay closer to the message.
Tip for web fonts and high traffic sites: You can use web safe fonts that work without additional download head like Arial and times. Although plain and common, you could combine them with different contrasting technique of color, spacing and weight. You could even use different backgrounds for page elements. This will ensure that one of the most important page speed parameter for website is met, which is avoiding server delay. Special fonts like those from google web font library and special fonts need to be downloaded from web server every time a user comes to the site. This can lead to bandwidth issue for heavy traffic sites. Web safe fonts are available in local OS of the client computer and does not require this overhead.
I am sure there is a lot more to picking the right font that creative people like you may know of, do share your kind views in comments below!
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