by Michael Guill, 107 Designs (@107designs)
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and choosing a font for your design seems like it should be a very subjective, opinion-based thing. Most of the time, however, it isn’t (or at least it shouldn’t be). Since you already know better than to use Comic Sans or Papyrus (you do know better, right?), here are three more to avoid and why.
The offending fonts:
I’ve never understood the popularity of this font, aside from the fact that it seems to be installed on so many computers. Curlz MT is the kind of font that really has no place in a design. It tries to be so cute and whimsical that it completely overshoots the mark on cuteness and whimsy.
Avoid this font and stand out from the crowd: too many people still use this poor, cute little curly typeface.
This is one of the hardest fonts to convince people to avoid, but here I am beating the drum (again). Copperplate is on this list not because it’s a lousy font, but because it’s become the go-to typeface for business owners who become interim designers to save a few bucks.
My word of advice: leave it off all your designs until the year 2027 when you can whip it out and be Interwebz retro. Better yet, delete it from your fonts folder entirely and put it in a time capsule on a USB stick. Yeah, I just said that.
If you have to use a script font, it will pay off big time to look beyond the ones pre-installed on your computer. Take a little bit of time and do some searching: you’ll find some absolutely beautiful fonts that are less used, more readable, and come with more overall awesomeness.
Brush Script is horrendous and on this list not only because it’s overused, but also because of its letter spacing, poorly designed connectors, and overall readability. Kerning can help, but it’s not worth the trouble, in my opinion.
So how do you choose?
I’ve included a photo of yard sign. Notice that the text is really small, and regardless of the fonts used, it’s a poor design for the purpose, which is meant to be understood while you’re driving by. A yard sign shouldn’t require you to park the car and walk over to within 10 feet of it just to read the content.
A designer considers all sorts of variables when choosing a font, such as the purpose of the content, the space that needs to be filled, even whether or not the text is really supposed to be read. What kind of material is this going to end up on? Will it only be digital, or will it be printed on paper? If so, what kind, what color, etc.? What sort of moods or meanings do you need to convey with the typeface?
If the answers to those sorts of questions are hard to come up with, you’ll probably need to hire a designer who can take your goals and translate those into a design using appropriate fonts. However, if you’re the do-it-yourself type, you’ll probably want to check out The The Non-Designer’s Type Book by Robin Williams. It’s one of the best resources on typography that I’m aware of (and it’s pretty cheap for a good reference book).
Photo credit: constructiondeal_marketing