Helz-Design

Why shall I use different Fonts and Typefaces?


I recently wondered why people seem to be not so interested in my hobby fonts than in the more lighthearted subjects like “wordpress tips” or “getting to know about Helen what you didn’t dare to ask”.

Nicole Bandes came across with a suggestion that people might not know why using different fonts.

I started that series last year after talking to some friends who used to tell me that they are usually using “Standard fonts”. Standard fonts are fonts like Arial or Times for them.

My purpose for that series “Font of the Week” is to make you guys aware that there are so much more fonts than just Arial or Times or even Calibri. Typeface designers like Luke de Groot or Jan Tschichold haven’t designed the fonts just to please Melissa Barham and Helen Bogun. They are there to be used, by all of us.

How to chose a font?

Choosing a good font is nothing magical. Everybody can do it.

Availability

A reason to choose a certain font could be that this special font is available!

That’s why programs like “MS Word” come along with different fonts. You have the opportunity to choose. Certainly they will adjust any text processing program and any layout program with a certain default font. They have to, otherwise the program won’t work. But that doesn’t mean that you have to stick to that font.

I can only encourage you to explore the fonts of your text processing program and just dare to use another one too, or even two or three. You can set up style sheets to make the usage easier.

Emotinal Effect

Another reason for choosing a certain font can be certain “Emotinal effect”.

It depends on the purpose of the text. But I guess we all have seen ads where some texts have been set in a font that created fear or a pleasant mode. Texts that really jumped into our eyes.

You chose a font for the purpose of the text. Usually a novel is typeset using a serif font like Times, Garamond, Sabon etc. The serifs form a line and make it easier to follow the text.
Books for children will be typeset using more playful fonts like Comic Sans or Script fonts.

You will never find such kind of fonts be used with traffic signs.

Examples on traffic sign “STOP”

graphic stop sign

left to right
University – Pico Black (twitter font) – Times – Helvetica

We all connect a certain font with a different feeling.

Examples on Emotions and Effects

nature graphic font

Aquiline – Blackadder
Helvetica – Lithos
Weissrundgotisch – Blood of Dracula

Sans Serifs are more clear than Serif fonts. Serif fonts are regared to be more traditional and conservative. Emotions are transported with the font. So we can use the font to create a certain emotion too.

 

Legibility

A very important reason for choosing a certain font is “Legibility”.

Guess we don’t have to go to the grounds of that. A text which can’t be read is useless! So we are going to help our reader to read the text easily.

When reading we want to separate words and characters easily, therefore the right amount of white between the characters, each character has to be easily to identify. So a font which uses characters which look very similar is not very easy to read.

Examples on Legibility

 

fonts graphic-design

Taste

And the most important point why to choose a special font: do you like it?

No matter what your graphic designer advices, you have to like the font. The font is used to transport your message! So love it or leave it.

It is a matter of taste and a matter of culture, too.

A font that looks great on your monitor, is not necessarily the perfect font for printing usage.

Want it for a book? Set it up the way it will appear in the book, print it, judge it …

Font will be used on the interweb? Than judge it how it appears on your monitor!

Next Friday I am going to talk about the differences between some font groups in general.

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18 thoughts on “Why shall I use different Fonts and Typefaces?

  1. Pingback: Font Comparison « Helz-Design

  2. Pingback: Top10Commented Blog Posts « Helz-Design

  3. paulineincrete on said:

    Hi Helen
    Thanks for sharing this post, I admit that I do not think to use other fonts and usually stick with 3 max but you have given me food for thought about looking at the others!
    Have a great weekend
    Pauline

  4. florabfinest on said:

    Loved this article about fonts.

    My pet peeve is when folks use too many fonts in one document. I’ve been magazine articles that have as many as 6 different fonts for the title, subtitle, text, captions, sidebars, etc. It seems that just 2 (or 3 max) should be enough within one document. Please correct me if I’m wrong on this.

    Legibility and emotional tone are the two most important considerations. There are several fonts I like, but don’t use in documents that are for the general public for fear that they will distract from my message. So, I tend to default to Times Roman or Arial. Lately I’ve been willing to use Cambria or Callibri in pdfs.

    Lately I’ve seen complaints about Comic Sans as amateurish font. Frankly, I like the informal friendliness of it, but wouldn’t want it to diminish my message.

    Obviously there’s loads to be said on this topic.

    • when i advocate to use more or different fonts i never would advocate to use “all” of them at once.
      that is a no go to have too many different fonts … as i mentioned it: there will be a future post on that subject.

      you can mix fonts but not all and not to many …
      good media design for books and magazine would come around with two or three different fonts.
      i would use one for headlines – a good legibale one for the body text and maybe (if necessary) a catchy one for highlights in marginal area …

      you are right, some fonts are just nice but can.t be used for texts – therefore we use them in logos or just for job printing.

      comic sans – a bit over used by now, and therefore some people think it is amateurish or unprofessional. it is a friendly font, i like to use it for children stuff … on my agenda too to talk about🙂
      thanks florafinest for stopping by

  5. Elise on said:

    What a wonderful post!
    Your examples were great, they really illustrated your point with the fonts. I don’t think people really realize what an impact a certain font has on them.
    I enjoyed this, thank you.

    • thank you elise
      sometimes it helps just to do something in a different way – like the stop sign – and everybody knows “BING” what it is all about🙂 you have to see it to realize it!

  6. Great information. Funny how one gets in the rut of using a few fonts and don’t look at the other ones that are available. I got creative on a page because of you. Thanks

  7. Great post!😉 Thanks for explaining that. When my graphic designer created my logo, he included the font style he used (Papyrus). I love the font and use it in print but haven’t looked into using it on my blog.

    Another question would be whether or not different computer or browser settings override fonts chosen by the website.

    • papyrus is great too … will put that on my agenda for a further detailed post on it.

      for adding to blog: you have to use google web fonts or edit the stylesheet.
      usually fonts for web work as font-families. if your blog uses e.g. helvetica but i don.t have helvetica on my system, the blog will use a similar font it will find on my system.

  8. Michele Taylor Coach on said:

    Lovely post, Helen. I’m a big fan of fonts but admit to finding myself using the same ones over and over…

    • thanks michelle 🙂
      i know you love them … you just have to tell yourself to try different ones.
      i find myself sometimes using the same again and again and then my usage changes.
      so i have had my bauhaus-phase, my baskerville-phase ………

  9. Thanks, Helen, I enjoy your discussion about fonts — sure resonates with me. I lead a jazz band and often create flyers or posters to promote our special events. I’m fascinated with display fonts, especially for headlines. Back in the early 1990’s, when I had access to just a few fonts, I joined America Online and discovered to my delight that I could download LOTS of display fonts for my flyers, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

    • i can feel your love for fonts robbie🙂
      i started working in this field down in 1991 and yes it was a lot different and fonts have been kinda limited.
      but a good font is sometimes like a great melody.

      music is a language and we communicate with it.
      and so are fonts used to communicate what we are going to say🙂

  10. I really appreciate this. Just completed a blog and was trying to decide if having multiple fonts was too much. You have reminded me why they work.

    • thank you linda

      i will later on – on a friday – post something about how to mix fonts.
      but yes you can use multiple but carefully.
      would love to read your blog🙂

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