5 Tips to Help You Quickly Find the Right Font Type for Your Clientsby Alabaweh Baweh -
Choosing the right font is one of the first steps you'll take when building a client's brand. And fonts matter. A lot. This isn't a choice that you'll want to rush. The font you choose will help impart the personality, style, and feel of the client's brand. Choose the wrong font and it could start your entire project off on the wrong foot. This ends up wasting a lot of your time and a lot of your client's money.
The problem is there are so many fonts out there. Thomas Phinney, a.k.a. The Font Detective, estimates that there are an incredible 300,000 individual fonts out there. You can't look at every font for every project that you work on. So how do you choose the right font?
Here are 5 tips that will help you find the perfect font and get your project started faster.
How to Pick the Perfect Font, Faster
Get to know the font families.
The more you know about fonts before you start looking, the easier it will be to narrow down your options. You'll get to know which font families work for certain projects and which ones do not. That helps you narrow down your search very quickly from the start. There are a lot of font families, but there are five main ones you should get to know well:
- Geometric. These fonts look like they're drawn with the help of drafting tools. They are very precise, sans-serif fonts. Geometric fonts can be especially good for logo design. They are easy to read but have some personality. You'll find Pantra in the geometric family.
- Humanist. These fonts have a classic calligraphy feel to them. They feel more organic than other fonts, like they're hand-lettered. Lucida is a Humanist font.
- Old Style. These are fonts developed by typographers around the 15th century. That's why they might remind you of a font that you'd see in the newspapers. Palatino falls into this category.
- Modern. Modern fonts are very vertical; there are no slants to these letters. The serifs are thin and long. You'll see these fonts used a lot in headlines, as they are eye-catching and easy to read. Bodoni is a modern font.
- Slab Serif. These fonts have thick lines with block-like feet, making them the opposite of modern fonts. There is a lot of variation in this font family, where you'll find classics like Rockwell.
As you grow more comfortable with these basic font families, you can start to explore some of the others. This will help you expand your font knowledge. If you are a new designer, you'll start to get to know what works and what doesn't for different projects. A lot of designers have their "go to" fonts, many of which will fall into one or two font families.
Keep it neutral most of the time.
There are so many amazing fonts out there. But the truth is, most of the time you are going to want to keep your font options pretty neutral. That's because the bulk of what you are writing with the font will need to be easily read by the intended audience. For instance, if you are designing a menu for a restaurant, you'll want 90% of the menu to be in an easy-to-read font like Helvetica. You can include typographical flourishes with the name and even section headings, of course. But make sure all the fonts you choose will work well together.
Consider the personality of the brand.
The personality of the brand will largely dictate what font you choose for your project. If it's a light-hearted brand that wants to convey whimsy and wonder, then your font can do that, too. Look for fonts that have lots of flourishes and swirls. But if the brand is serious and straight-forward and wishes to convey solemnity and power, then a whimsical font is the wrong choice. Look for something heavy and bold for your solemn brand. Above all, you'll want the personality of the font to match the personality of the brand. This may take a little experimentation to narrow down your final choice. Knowing the feeling you want the font to convey, though, will help you narrow down your options to just a few.
Know the purpose of the font.
Think about the job that that font will do. The font for a logo and the font for the text on a website have two very different jobs. One needs to convey personality and the other needs to be easy to read. Make sure you think about the job of the font that you are choosing as you look. No one wants to read a pamphlet full of text written in a Bleeding Cowboy font.
One way to make sure you have all your bases covered is to buy your fonts in bundles. Remember, a lot of designers have already gone down the path of picking fonts for projects. Many of them have already bundled various fonts together. They do this according to what looks great together and gives you various options for different functions. Font bundles will have options for headlines, logos, and decorative scripts, along with fonts that are easy to read and perfect for large blocks of text. Buying a bundle can make your design life a lot easier (and faster!)
Don't be afraid to break a rule or two. Or 12.
You are a designer for a reason. Trust your instincts. There are plenty of rules you can follow for what fonts work for what kind of project. But the truth is you can break those rules whenever you want. While these tips can put you on the right path to the perfect font, it's okay to deviate from the plan. If you see a font that you love that breaks a rule or two, don't write it off. This is how great design ideas are born!
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