How to Choose the Right Font in Graphic Design

How to Choose the Right Font in Graphic Design

One of the most taxing questions a graphic designer has to ask themselves when starting a new design is “Which font do I use?”

It’s a tricky problem to solve due to the ramifications it can have on your design. Choose the right font and you’re laughing as it will enhance your design more than you could ever imagine. However, pick a font which doesn’t quite fit and you’ll find that your design fails to spread it wings and fly.

To help you overcome this common obstacle I’m going to discuss a few tips to help you choose the right font.

Understand the Project’s Mood

Fonts are a fundamental element in creating a mood and helping convey a sense of emotion, so this is why they’re so powerful in graphic design.

Now, every project will require a different mood from the last one you’ve worked on, so you can’t just dig out the same old font. The chances are that it’ll clash terribly with the new client you’re working for. I mean, for example, would a children’s nursery want the same font as a car garage?!

The best way to define the mood required is to get stuck into some brainstorming. This will present you with a wide range of ideas on the feel you need your font to exude.

Readability is Essential

It’s not surprising to learn that the readability of the font you choose is key to communicating your design’s message.

However, what many graphic designers fail to realise is that certain fonts work best in certain media. Sure, there’s no problem with breaking the rules once in a while if it’s going to improve your design, but there are certain rules you should stick to.

Books, for example, contain thousands of words, so have to be very easy to read or the reader will get tired of slogging through beautifully ornate, but difficult to read calligraphy. Likewise, a jar of marmalade would look very appealing with an elegant font containing plenty of artistic flourishes whilst Times New Roman would be uninspiring.

Understand What Works with Dark Backgrounds

The most common font/background setup is dark text on a light background and it’s pretty simple to execute due to the simple contrast.

However, when it comes to working with dark backgrounds the rules change!

You’ll want to try working with fonts which are bold, large and less decorative to ensure they stand out against such a dramatic background. If you choose fonts whose typeface is too thin or elaborate then they’ll just get swallowed up.

Avoid Clichés

We’re professionals after all, so we really should be avoiding clichéd combinations of mood and font.

Take Comic Sans, for example, which is stereotyped as being childish, fun and light-hearted. It’s also been absolutely used to death in any niche which relates to children e.g. children’s clubs, toy packaging etc.

As a graphic designer you want to be known for your graphic ingenuity and craft designs which stand out. If, however, you’re prone to choosing the first font that comes to mind you’ll find that your designs get lost in a sea of mediocrity.

So, please, try something a little different!

Serif or Sans Serif?

The most common types of font are either serif or sans serif, but what’s the difference and which one is right for your project?

Well, serif fonts have feet attached to the bottom of their letters whereas sans serif fonts don’t and are bolder as a result.

Serif fonts are best suited to more traditional and serious subjects, so they should always be a go to font in these situations. Sans Serif fonts, meanwhile, are more modern and just perfect for flat design projects such as modern web and app design.

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