Fonts Speak Louder Than Words
In today’s digital landscape—more than ever—consumers are aware of typography, design and how the world looks around them. When working with my business, it is important to be prepared to discuss fonts at the beginning of our Marketing process.
Here are three tips to help you understand fonts and why they are so important.
1. Fonts vs. Typefaces
Fonts, typefaces… what’s the difference? Here’s the easiest explanation to remember:
- A font is a grouping of typefaces that have similar characteristics.
- A typeface is referring to an individual family member of that font.
Take Gotham for instance:
Gotham has many typeface variations, but each falls within the parent font, Gotham. Specifically, Gotham Italic is a typeface; it resembles all things Gotham but looks slightly different. Think of it as one big happy family—each typeface is unique and special, but they all share the same font name.
Font Tip: Knowing the kinds of typefaces you have to work with or want to use will give you a good foundation as you develop your digital presence.
2. Categories of Font Styles
Script: This font type is known for its elegant, light and professional appeal. You often see this kind of font written on wedding invitations, diplomas or certificates. Use this kind of font sparingly. It’s not designed to be used as body copy or used in small spaces.
Display: You often see this kind of font on movie posters, newspapers, banners, etc. It’s intentionally designed to grab your attention or to give emphasis to a certain area. This is another font that’s not meant to be used in large quantities—a little goes a long way.
Hand Lettering: These kinds of fonts have hand rendered characteristics. Maybe they look as if a child has written it, or as if someone used a Sharpie or whiteboard marker to jot something down. Designers like to use fonts like this because they add a human element to the design—something that people can relate to.
3. The Art of Visual Language
Various fonts and typefaces carry a lot of meaning and character in the way that they look. You must remember this when you are choosing a font for your next project—a font can completely change an intended message depending on how or where you use it. Look at this illustration for an example.
“Stop” on the left seems to almost be screaming at you. Whereas, “stop” on the right is very timid, faint and almost weak.
Typography is the vehicle through which we communicate tone of voice, age, gender, emotion—and it can be easily manipulated. Visual characteristics of the font do speak louder than words.
Font Tip: Fonts matter. People are being consciously and subconsciously influenced and directed by various font choices all the time. Be sure you’ve considered all the direct and indirect impacts of your font choices because they can drastically dictate how your audience feels, and even how they’re called to action.
I will always ask you the font style or specific fonts you prefer first through the questionnaire I provide once we start working together.