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7 Reasons That The Correct Font is Important

Posted on October 26, 2010 in Top Posts | 2 comments

Fonts: Sometimes we don’t pay enough attention to them, but choosing the correct one is vital for your project; be it a full blown advertising campaign, a sign for your office, a Christmas card or a publicity photo. Here are seven reasons why.

1.  Playfulness.  Kristen is a lovely, whimsical, childlike font which, when used correctly, imbues the work with a sense of playfulness and naivety.  When used incorrectly however, it is not as effective:

Adolf Hitler poster with a swastika at Nuremberg saluting (salute) with brownshirts (painting, picture,propaganda). ITC Kristen Font

The message Drive to the East was intended as a call to invasion and conquest.  This poster may still encourage people to drive East, but now they’ll be doing it in Smart cars whilst drinking Innocent smoothies and listening to Death Cab For Cutie.  The Kristen font is too jaunty for Hitler.

2.  Menace.  Similarly, Fraktur is a font associated with much Nazi propaganda and many of their legal notices.  When used in this context however, it rather blurs the message:

a cute bunny picture poster to raise funds for the animal shelter.  Fraktur font

Even the sad face can’t rescue this one.  The font exudes menace and it makes it appear more of a threat than an appeal:  That if you don’t give them money, ranks of jack-booted stormtroopers will goose-step on poor Flopsy. :’-(  Still quite an effective message though.

3.  Cool.  Some fonts – Sidewalk in this instance – are rather cool and edgy and, when used sparingly, can really make an impact.

An office notice about washing up teacups using the sidewalk font

When making a sign for the office kitchen though, they tend to work less well.  The thoughts of the users of the office kitchen will probably range from, “What in god’s name is that abomination on the wall?!”  to, “Wow!  Emma’s like the coolest person ever to have put up a sniffy notice about washing teacups.  Ever.”

4. Minimalism.  The moon: A cold, empty, stark place which requires an appropriately minimal font and, when putting together an article on whether man will return to the moon, it’s important to use one.  And not this:

A picture of the moon and speculation on man's return to it.

French Script really isn’t doing this picture any favours.  It’s over-elaborate, cluttered, and just not spacey enough.  And it’s French.  They’ve never been to the moon.  They rarely go as far as Sussex.

5.  Seasonality.  Christmas: Evocative of roaring fires, presents, carol singing, peace, goodwill and happy families spending quality time together at home.

A Victorian Christmas scene bearing the legend, "Merry Christmas To One And All".  Digital Readout Thick Upright font

But when your Christmas card features the Digital Readout Thick Upright font, you introduce the spectre of The Terminator into the traditional family Christmas, and that doesn’t seem like it will go well.  Even if he does bring presents from the future.

6.  Clarity.  Clean crisp fonts such as Gill Sans exude class.  With a plain, unfussy font your carefully chosen words are showcased to their best advantage.  The BBC use Gill Sans, and the famous Volkswagen Lemon advert used a similar font.  Sometimes though, it’s not a good idea to go minimal:

An extraordinary comment on a Youtube video using a Gill Sans font.

Because the reader’s attention is drawn to every error and mad utterance in your crazed internet rant.  And yes, I did cut and paste this from a comment on one of our posts.  Answers on a postcard?

7.  Gasp! There’s a lot of snobbery around the use of MS Comic Sans.  And many perfectly reasonable people say that it should never, ever be used; there are websites and Facebook groups that campaign against it.  But they’re wrong.  Because I’ve found a use for it:

A black and white (B & W) publicity picture (portrait) of Jonathan Lee. (7 Reasons/7reasons.org).  MS Comic Sans font

You can use it to take perfectly good, artfully shot publicity photos, and make them funnier.  I’m so happy with this one that I’m not even going to charge for it.  Finally, a use for Comic Sans.

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2 Comments

  1. I am not sure who I hold more responsible for the monstrosity above. You, I or the scroll button.

  2. Great points. Correct font use is extremely important, and most people do not pick well.

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