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Fonts: four tips and tricks

Updated: Jun 16

What is a font? (Simple question, you may say. Not so, I reply!) How should you use them? Choose them? Put them together? Read on for our quick and easy guide to all things fonty.


Fonts

Just kidding! Rule number one: never (EVER) use Comic Sans. Ever. (Except as a joke.)

Let's start again...


FONTS

What most people call fonts are actually typefaces.

A typeface, such as Arial, is a font family. A font is the specific combination of typeface, weight and size: e.g. Arial Bold 10pt is a font.

Simple is best.

Choose fonts that are nice and clean, and easy to read. For body text, you normally want a sans-serif or a clear, modern serif font. Black, slab serif and script fonts can be used in titles or for emphasis, but sparingly.

Sans serif typefaces include Montserrat (this one), Arial and Open Sans, and are made up of clean lines of equal width. Serif typefaces taper, and have little lines (“serifs”) on the ends of the letters, like Times New Roman, Georgia and Garamond. Slab serif typefaces tend to be heavy and have thick, blocky serifs. “Black” is a weight (like light/medium/bold) at the heaviest end of the spectrum. Some typefaces are made up of thick heavy lines, so can be described as a black typeface. The number in the corner of this page is in Impact, which is a black typeface.


Think about how you're pairing fonts.

Use two, or maximum three fonts. Use fonts that go well together and are similarly proportioned.

Some fonts go well together because they have the same style (serif, sans-serif, etc.), proportions (x-height* and width) or mood. An easy way to pair fonts in this way is to use the same typeface in different weights. Other fonts go together because they have different but complementary features, e.g. an industrial sans-serif with a more traditional serif typeface. *The x-height is literally the height of the letter “x”, which is the standard way of comparing heights of different typefaces.

Finally...

It’s ok to have a few favourite fonts you normally use, even across different projects. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel if you’ve found what works for you!

With a special mention to my old friends… Impact 24pt Comfortaa Medium 43pt, 52pt & 86pt and the tried and tested Montserrat Light 25pt

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