How To Choose A Typeface
Typography is an important aspect of the design process, as choosing the right typeface can make a significant difference to the effectiveness of the design. Finding the right font can be a tedious task as there are hundreds to choose from. To help, here are few points to get you started…
Always test your type will work for the intended project. Check the size and the spacing works well. Choose typefaces that are designed for the purpose you are using them, for example a clear display font for websites, a trendy slab for large format posters or something readable for large blocks of text. Always remember your audience and how they will consume the information!
It is important for a font to be legible in order for the reader to be able to distinguish one letter from another. There are many factors that need to be taken into account when considering the legibility of the text. These factors include character shapes, character width, weight, ascender and descender length. There are two distinct typefaces known as Serif and Sans Serif. Serif fonts have ‘feet’ at the ends of the letterforms while sans serifs don’t. Serif fonts are known to improve readability in large blocks of text, and are considered more traditional, while sans serif typefaces are seen as modern.
With all design decisions the chosen typeface needs to be the result of effective thinking. If your typeface selection is purely based on aesthetics, it does not necessarily mean it’s going to convey the intended brand message to your audience.
4. Follow the rules or break them?
Knowledge of type gives you the power to express yourself more creatively with it. Why not push the boundaries and see where your typography journey takes you.
Frutiger - Adrian Frutiger, est. 1977
Designed specifically for a new airport this font has spread around the world to have international significance.
Image 1. Official typeface of Britain’s National Health Service
Image 2. Airport signage is clearly demonstrated here
Bodoni – Giambattista Bodoni, est. 1790
Typographer Bodoni sought technical and aesthetic perfection in his typefaces, which are characterised by fine lines and curves, contrasted with strong vertical strokes. Best used large with lots of white space.
Helvetica – Mas Miedinger, est. 1957
As neutral as it is legible, Helvetica’s ubiquity has made it the love/hate typeface of the modern world. Is it pedestrian or the best of the best?Image 3: Alan Fletcher’s 1989 V&A logo uses Bodoni with a stylised letter A.
Image 4: Vignelli Associates used Helvetica extensively in 1967 American Airlines logo and branding.
Caslon – William Caslon, est. 1725
This fine English typeface is characterised by short ascenders and descenders, a robust texture and contrast in print and was used extensively throughout the British Empire and American colonies.
Image 1. Caslon was used to set the American Declaration of Independence