Choosing the Right Font: A Practical Guide to Typography Design
Nov 03, 2015 12:25
Whether you’re working on the design for your next print bestseller or launching your very first eBook, choosing the right fonts for your creation is almost as important as your content. Fonts dress your text, they set the tone and give your audience a taste of what to expect. They also have a strong practical impact.
Unfortunately, most people tend to make their font choices based on what they think ‘looks nice’. And that’s a big mistake. Go beyond the basic aesthetics and consider the following points when choosing a font.
How Your Audience Reads
Don’t limit your font choice to a single publishing method. These days, people go beyond the traditional book or magazine. Kindles, tablets, smartphones, and computers are now often first choice in how people choose to consume information.
Always cater to your audience, no matter how they choose to read. Yes, it’s going to require a little more elbow grease but it’ll be worth it. When testing your font choices keep the following in mind:
• Contrast: Always have plenty of contrast between the background and font colors. Avoid garish combinations such as red on blue like the plague.
• Combination Overload: Choosing a few fonts to add a little spice to your design is a good idea, but don’t overdo it. The standard advice is to opt for a serif font coupled with a sans serif variety.
• Font Size: Your content should be legible across all devices. Ensure the coding on your website (if applicable) deals with the various devices appropriately.
Picking the Right Voice
We’ve already mentioned how fonts set the tone for your book (or magazine, web copy, etc.). Let’s explore that thought a little further. Your font gives your text personality, represents your brand, and leads your audience.
For example, old school serif fonts won’t work very well if you’re content is meant to be modern and edgy. Conversely, urban fonts would look out of place in an academic text. There’s no right or wrong font by default, but you have to dress for the occasion.
The ‘Wow Factor’ vs. Legibility
Choosing the right font is as much about design principles as it is about legibility. If you’re choosing a font for the first time, it’ll be tempting to go for something that stands out, something unique. The result? Your font may look nice at first glance, but people won’t want to read what you have on offer.
Always make sure your font is legible. It’s more important than choosing a beautiful typeface that has the aesthetic ‘wow factor’. However, that doesn’t mean that the two qualities are mutually exclusive. There are plenty of attractive fonts that will also tick the legibility box – keep looking until you find the right fit.
The Devil is in the Detail
We get it – you don’t want to be standard, boring, run of the mill. You want your content to make a splash, jump out of the page, and exude a little something extra. But that doesn’t mean you should flaunt conventions without regard for your audience.
Know the saying ‘a little goes a long way’? If you need to inject an additional measure of Va Va Voom to your design, sprinkle it in. Use it in your headlines or sub headers, or extras such as quotes or text boxes. Don’t be overzealous and stick to a moderate dosage.
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