When it comes to fonts, there isn’t an instructional manual that outlines the do’s and don’ts. In fact, a lot of time people just toss fonts aside, thinking they’re interchangeable. However, in the world of design, fonts are so much more than just a way to show how your letters look on paper. They are a feeling, a statement, and a way to affirm a message. If you’re not using fonts in these ways, then you’re probably not making the most of your font decisions. Regardless, there’s more to fonts than you may realize.
We all used those display fonts at some point in our life to make a friend’s birthday banner or card in Microsoft Word, however in the business world you’re looking for a much different effect. Even if your business is fun and unique, a loud font can overpower your message. In fact, in most cases you don’t notice a font at all. When a customer lands on a nice website, they aren’t commenting on the font. They look past the font and read the information, without knowing the font is actually influencing the message they’re receiving. So next time you’re looking for the boldest or quirkiest font you can find, maybe take a second look.
Fonts aren’t just there to look pretty, although it’s hard not to admire a well chosen font. Think of fonts as the vehicle to transport the message. Imagine you have an important meeting tomorrow morning, but no way to get there. That’s a slight problem. The way you get to the meeting is just as important as the meeting, how you look, and what time you arrive at. I’d argue almost more important, since the rest isn’t possible if you can’t get there!
Now think of the different methods of transportation. There’s walking, biking, driving, taking the train, taking a bus, or taking a plane. Even within driving you have a ton of options including whether someone is driving you or you’re driving yourself. There’s uber and there’s a limo. We base our decision off of many factors including convenience, status, independence, financial means, and location. Down to the means of transportation, a message is being sent.
A limo driver holding a sign with your name in the airport shows classiness, status, and privilege. The driver wears a suit, drives a fancy black car, and the inside is always clean. Now, think if the limo driver wore a fancy suit, held a sign with your name on it, and then led you to an old, beat up car. Wouldn’t you be confused?
Fonts are the vehicle to your information. If your message catered to a specific type of audience, then your font should reflect that as well. Think who are the readers, how do you want them to feel, and then choose a font that best shows that.
One font is hard enough, but add another font and it seems like game over. Yet, that’s not the case! Pairing fonts is about finding balance. You don’t want one font to overpower the other, making information hard to take in for the readers. It’s like the yin and yang of design - serifs pair well with sans serif fonts.
The best way to go pairing though, is to use a font pairing tool, like this one from Bold Web Design. This makes it easy, knowing you have two fonts that work well together. All you do is choose one font you think best fits your message and audience, and the tool will generate a font that works best with it. Test it out!
From website to eBook, or really any project, fonts might be best to pick at the last step. It may be most important, but it’s definitely the hardest step. Sometimes it’s the little things that matter the most!
A creative jack of all trades, Kelsey from Bold Web Design brings tasteful wit to each article she writes. With experience in the world of design, she understands the struggles of choosing fine details, like fonts, that put the cherry on top.