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5 Tips for Upping Your Font Game

There’s a reason Comic Sans is said to be the world’s most-hated font. Not to mention there’s also a website called It’s because typography matters.

ty·pog·ra·phy [tīˈpäɡrəfē/]

noun: the style and appearance of printed matter.

Every single day, people subconsciously make decisions to buy or not to buy products based on their packaging — colors, photos, typography, etc. Though the subconscious decisions in social media are different and come in the form of likes, comments, and shares, typography also plays a major role in the effectiveness of social media visuals.

1. Utilize Font ResourcesScreen Shot 2015-11-13 at 2.25.40 PM

Many great free font resources exist for your benefit. Here’s a couple of my personal favorites:

A benefit of DaFont is that you can type in custom text and preview it before downloading the file. Various categories exist for you to browse: Handwritten, Western, Curly, Old School, etc. Making use of these high quality fonts will set your design work apart from others who rely on the standard fonts that come prepackaged with operating systems.

2. Less Is More

I know, I know. You’re going to want to go crazy now that you’ve got an entire new library of sexy new fonts. But be patient! Too many good fonts makes for a bad design. A general rule of thumb is to use three fonts or less for a design project. Bear readability in mind. An extravagant, fancy font should not be used for body text because it will be too difficult to read, but perhaps it is appropriate for a title or heading.

3. Study the Basics of TypographyScreen Shot 2015-11-13 at 2.36.03 PM

Serif vs. Sans-Serif. You know those small lines tailing from the edges of letters and symbols on certain fonts? That’s a serif, and these fonts (e.g., Times New Roman) are often used in print materials because they are believed to be more readable for long blocks of text. Fonts without the serifs (e.g., Helvetica) are often used on computer screens where the dots per inch are fewer than printed material.



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Leading vs Kerning vs Tracking.

Leading pertains to the vertical spacing between lines of text. Manipulating the leading affects the readability of blocks of text.

Kerning also adjusts space but affects the distance between two letters. For logo design, kerning Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 2.43.00 PMadjustments could be useful.Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 2.42.40 PM

Tracking is very similar to kerning but impacts the spacing between letters for the entire word instead of only two characters.


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Detailed explanations:

4. Be Inspired

A great deal of typography is based on a gut feeling. You may not always be able to vocalize your font choice other than for the simple fact that it just looks right. That gut feeling, however, must be trained. Regularly visiting design blogs for typography inspiration is a great place to start, because you’ll start to become more familiar with what looks good and what doesn’t. Your design instinct will follow.

  • Abduzeedo – The section on this site dedicated solely to typography is beautiful. Go look and be inspired.
  • Behance – A popular website for discovering creative works, Behance also has loads of typographical masterpieces.
  • Dribbble – It’s show and tell for designers.

5. Install New Fonts

The process for installing new fonts that you’ve downloaded will vary depending on your OS. Instead of confusing you — and myself — by trying to describe the process for each operating system, I’ll provide you with links that explain the process much better than I would.