Monday morning tips: Guidelines for choosing fonts

On Monday mornings, I have been give some time during our CUI School of Education staff devotion/meeting to do some technology training.  The intent is to keep it brief and to meet real needs of our people.

experimental typography

CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Some rights reserved by arnoKath

What I think about when designing a document…

Readability.  Most often this is of prime importance when communicating with type.  If you have a situation where aesthetics trumps readability, make sure it’s worth it.

Consistency.  Use typography to guide the reading of your document.  In particular, when you know the document might be quickly skimmed or scanned by your readers, provide them with typographic clues.  Make a plan and stick to it: Font A for headlines, Font B for subheadlines, Font C for body text, etc.

Functionality. When choosing a font, be intentional about choosing for a purpose.  Be aware of the mood or personality traits communicated by each font (e.g., masculine/feminine, modern or aged, dainty or bold, slick or stocky, etc.)  – and use the personality for a purpose.

Complimentary.  Some say that when you are perusing your font list, don’t look for one font.  Instead, look for two fonts that complement each other.

Decisive Contrast.  This is a sub-point of “complimentary”.  When using multiple fonts, either choose fonts that are very similar or very different.  Don’t be wimpy if you’re looking for a contrast.

What other people say…

Everyone has their list of typography guidelines.  Here’s one I find agreement with:

 “What Font Should I Use?”: Five Principles for Choosing and Using Typefaces, by Dan Mayer

Formatting Tip

When copying text from another document, remove it’s unique formatting traits by pasting it into your document using the “keep text only” option.

Then copy the intended typography of your document to the pasted-in text using the “Format Painter”.

    1. Select the text or graphic that has the formatting that you want to copy.
    2. On the toolbar, click Format Painter. The pointer changes to a paintbrush icon.
      • Click the text (or graphic) that you want to format.
    3. To apply formatting to more than one block of text or graphic, double-click Format Painter.
      • Click the text (or graphic) that you want to format – and click on the next text to change, too.

Good source of free fonts

1001 Free Fonts

Other resources

15 tips to choose good text type

Type Classifications

Add this to your toolbox: What the Font


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