4 Tips for Choosing the Right Font

For the average person, the right font is whatever the program picks by default. But when it comes to design, font matters. And when it comes you your business and your brand, it matters most.

Even the best designs can be ruined by the wrong font, or even good fonts used in the wrong ways. Read on to figure out why fonts matter.

We should note, that what we call fonts are actually typefaces. A typeface is the collection of letters and symbols. A font is how we use that typeface (size, line spacing, things like that). But we're just gonna roll with font, because that makes more sense to non-designers. If you're not a designer, you don't need to be an expert on all the right terms. Ready?

Let's Get Going.

1. Brand Consistency

Using the same font throughout all of your marketing pieces establishes harmony throughout the brand. It makes every piece you put out recognizable. And, just like color, it says a lot about the "personality" of your company. When used consistently, people will begin to associate that font with your brand, expanding recognition. This is why it’s important to pick a typeface that has the personality you want to convey.

Take Cadillac for example. The iconic calligraphy in the logo creates a mood of luxury and elegance. Without even looking at the cars, we’ve already established a tone. Their use of unique typography helps set the tone for the brand that is perceived by the consumer and transferred to the product or service.

You work hard to establish your brand, and the font you choose should be a part of that. Make sure it matches the tone of your business. We already covered the different types of fonts, and how they affect personality, so I won't ramble on again. But just know that if you're not sure, ask a designer.

2. Hierarchy

Put plainly, hierarchy guides your user, and shows them what you want them to look at. When used effectively, the typography establishes importance, and gives the page order. It gives you more control over what parts of the content viewers focus on first. Using a different color or a bigger, bolder font will draw the viewers' attention, allowing you to be more creative with the design. This means that the most important information doesn’t have to be at the top of the page—if the message stands out, viewers will be drawn to that information first.

Without hierarchy, then the entire content will fall flat, and create a visual "wall of text", that no one will read. Users want to be able to easily determine what matters on the page, and go there, and a lack of hierarchy will cause users to simply abandon ship. Good hierarchy has a variety sizes, colors, fonts, and typefaces to bring these differences to attention.

3. Readability

What good is your message if it's hard to read? So readability should be at the top of the list when choosing a font. People rarely notice how readable a font is, but they always notice when it's not. We expect what we're looking at to be readable, so make sure to keep that top of mind. One way to check this is to use the "Il1" test, to see how easy it is to tell the difference between a capital I, a lowercase l, and the numeral 1.

Keep in mind too, that white space matters. Having the right amount of space between letters and lines can make them more readable, and easier to digest. When in doubt, increase the size, and use nothing smaller than 12pt font. Remember that your users want to scan the text, not read it like a book. Combine readability with hierarchy, and you'll make their life easy. Scannable text should always be the goal.

4. Use them correctly

The rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Stick to two fonts, and make sure there's a lot of differentiation. You never want to use two fonts that look too much alike, because that gets weird. Like food and wine, your fonts should pair nicely. FontPair has some nice examples to get you started, and give you some inspiration. A good, general rule is to use one font (typeface, size, weight, whatever) for headlines, and another for body text. But play around with it, and find the balance that works for you and your brand.

When it comes to good use, keep big, bold, fancy typefaces for headlines, and stick to something clean and simple or your main text. This will help cover everything we've talked about already. And, when considering fonts, remember that one font, used correctly, can have a big impact. In the image below, you can see how something as simple as font weight and color can set a different tone completely.

So That's That.


Choosing a font might seem simple, but a designer will take careful consideration when choosing the one that works best for you or your brand. Nearly every font has its place, even Comic Sans, but don't over do it when it comes to interesting fonts. And don't use them if it doesn’t make sense.

But never use Papyrus. It's not fancy, it's hard to read, and designers will never let you live it down. Just trust me on this one.