By Subhamay Basu; Artist and Graphic Designer; Proprietor – Graphite Studio; Director – Janus Cultural Society, White Cube
You may want to be a graphic designer, owner of a start-up company, the go-to person in the office for making the project presentations, thinking of leaving your job planning to open a boutique or a restaurant – whoever you are in this list – there is one thing that you need pay more attention than you already do! And that is the choice of FONTS.
We have all heard the sayings like – first impression is the last impression and always dress for the occasion – well, no matter how much you may be itching not to conform, do think of these when you choose a font. Whether you are designing a webpage, a book of poetry, rock concert poster, choosing the logo of your company or trying to sell an idea to your boss; always remember the kind of impression you want to make. Typography often provides that first impression that people gauge and judge the rest of the design by — so your font choices need to be purposeful and appropriate.
This topic is large and varied, also full of debates; but here are a few simple rules to help you choose:
Fonts have personality
They can be straight-forward, mysterious, flirty, loud, dramatic, frivolous, daunting and even insipid. What you choose will depend on the kind of message you want to give away. You need to determine what a particular font is saying to you, and whether that fits with your design, otherwise, there will be a visual disconnect for the viewers or users of your design. When browsing fonts, it can be easy to get caught up in all the fun and interesting choices, but don’t let personal preferences get in the way; a font that you may find bold or stylish may not be useful or appropriate for the project you’re working on.
Keep asking yourself: Does this font support the qualities of my brand or complement the purpose of my design?
Consider context and audience
Where and how your design will be viewed is also a very important factor these days. For instance, a business card design will need a font that’s easily readable at a small size. Social media graphics, which are likely to be viewed on mobile devices, would benefit from fonts that display well on screen. Who is viewing your design may also be important. Does your audience belong to a certain age or demographic? Will your font choice resonate with them?
Suitability and its functions
Will your chosen font work where you are intending to use it? Is it practical and easy to read in the context of your design? One of the most common mistakes is not realizing what various font categories are most suitable for — for instance, body typefaces versus display typefaces. Body typefaces are used in body copy: book text, magazine or newspaper text, website content – any lengthy passages. These fonts are easy on the eyes and easy to read. They should not distract the reader at any cost. Display or decorative fonts, on the other hand, are the ones that scream for attention from a distance. These fonts can make a big impact when used correctly; otherwise, they can make a design look busy and amateurish — or even unreadable.
Size and Spacing
Choose point size that fits your design context. A business card needs a different sized font than an event poster. If you’re designing something that might be viewed on mobile devices — social media graphics, for example — open up any word processing program and try typing a few lines using the chosen font and reduce the size. If it is still readable, then it will probably perform well on small screens. In most cases, generous spacing improves readability. But if it is limited, try to experiment with different combinations of font size and spacing to optimize readability.