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What the Font?!

Fonts are pretty sweet. If used correctly, they can add a lot of pop to your design. My favorite types of logos are ones where text treatments are used. They're simple and when they're done right, they look awesome.

On the other hand, use the wrong font and your design goes from hero to zero in a hot minute. Why am I writing about fonts? Two reasons: 1. people tell me my handwriting looks like a font (it does) and 2. I recently did a Facebook Live video on some tips for using the right font. I want to elaborate on the second reason because I kept the live video to about five minutes. So, let's talk about fonts!

BSquared's Font Tips (disclaimer: these are my opinions, not design law; you may or may not agree with them, and that's ok!)

  • This is probably the most important (which is why I'm going to use bold lettering and all caps) UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THE FONT COMIC SANS BE USED. FOR ANYTHING. EVER. Just delete that out of your font folder and save yourself some trouble. Dan Gilbert might have wanted to do that before he wrote that scathing letter to LeBron when he left for Miami. If you're looking for a cute-sy kid font, there are 100s out there that are way better. Comic Sans is like the kid that everybody made fun of in school. Just ... don't.
  • KISS (Keep It Simple ... Skippy!) A BSquared rule of thumb is to use no more than two fonts in a design. Pick a header font and a body font. Your header font can be decorative, but remember, it also needs to be readable. Decorator fonts are a good use as a header font. Some of examples of a decorator font are Scriptina, Honey Light and Amatic (some of my favorites). Your body font definitely better be easy to read. Some good ones are Century Gothic, Open Sans, Myriad and Adobe Garamond. Try not to drop the body font below 10 points.
  • You could also use the same font for your header and body, but use different styles of the font (semibold for the header, light for the body). Currently, I'm digging this look, especially when I use Open Sans in my layouts.
  • Kerning vs. leading. What the heck does this mean?! This is also another way to add a little twist to your font. Kerning is the space between each letter; you can adjust it so the letters move closer together or spread further apart. Leading is the vertical distance between lines of type (paragraph spacing for you kids who know Microsoft Word). You can increase the space between the lines or make it smaller; be careful if you make it too small - the text can overlap and then you really can't read it.
  • Serif fonts and sans-serif fonts. Ever wondered what those little doo-hicks attached to the end of a letter are called? Serifs! Serif fonts have those lines attached to their letters. Sans-serif fonts do not. Serif fonts are a little more traditional looking and give off that classy feel (at least to me). Examples of serif fonts are Adobe Garamond Pro, Trajan Pro and Times New Roman. Sans-serif fonts can be a bit more modern and examples include Opens Sans, Myriad Pro and Arial.
  • Select a font that matches your design. If you're working on a more feminine-looking design, choose a feminine-looking font like Susie's Hand or Saginaw. Don't choose Trajan Pro or a font that is a bit more bulky or chunky. Ladies are delicate flowers dammit, pick something that represents that :) Likewise if you're going for a more "macho" look - maybe a thinner, looping font isn't the best idea. 
  • Don't forget - if you've installed a font on your computer and have used it in a design, do one of two things if you share the file with someone else. 1. Outline the font to convert it to line. 2. Send the font file when you email the original file. If you've designed something in Illustrator (or Word or PowerPoint) using that sweet font you got online and the person you've sent it to doesn't have that font installed on his or her computer, you're gonna have a bad time. 

So there you have it! Some quick tips for making the most of your font selections. If you are looking for some websites that offer free fonts (because free is good), check out these sites:

An example of using fonts for a logo, the two font rule and picking the right font for the job. (fonts: Bombshell Pro and Open Sans)

An example of the One Font/Two Styles rule. The word "cookies" is also kerned slightly. (font: Open Sans)

If this doesn't scream "I'm a delicate feminine flower", I'm not sure what does. (fonts: Scriptina and Blackjack)