The 10 Font Commandments for Every Business
Typography is an art. Most business people understand this and would never dream of attempting to design their own font for use with their company’s business materials. Unfortunately, the same understanding doesn’t hold for many business people when it comes to selecting and employing fonts designed by others. So, if you’re determined to go it alone, without a seasoned graphic designer at your side, when selecting fonts for your business needs, please consider the following ten commandments:
1) Thou Shalt Exercise Restraint
Choosing a font is not about expressing yourself or brand. A well-selected font does its job as it is supposed to when it isn’t noticed.
2) Thou Shalt Space Words and Letters Correctly
Regardless of how the font is presented to you, in using it for your project you must pay attention to the spacing of words and letters. The font may be presented with all of the letters very close together, but this may not work for your design.
3) Thou Shalt Use Decoration Sparingly and with Style
Ornamental fonts can be employed to great effect in certain business contexts. But be careful to ensure that your font selection and the way you’re using them is in keeping with your brand esthetic and legible for its intended audience.
4) Thou Shalt Combine Serif Fonts With Sans-Serif Fonts and Vice Versa
If you’re project requires more than one font (it shouldn’t require more than two), make sure that you aren’t combining two serf or sans-serif fonts. Always select a serif font that compliments a sans-serif font if you’re using two.
5) Thou Shalt Not Mix Moods When Using Two Fonts
Many modern and contemporary fonts were designed to evoke certain moods. When combining fonts do not select fonts with contrasting moods.
6) Thou Shalt Apply Contrast Lovingly and Without Restraint
The employ of contrast in selecting two fonts to work with each other is key to getting the two blocks or lines of texts to stand out from one another. (This does not, in any way, contradict commandment number three.)
7) Thou Shalt Combine Fonts of Similar Eras and Similar Moods
Getting fonts to work together is much easier when they have similar moods or look as if they come from a similar time.
8) Thou Shalt Consider Size When Selecting a Font
Many fonts are not designed to work well when blown up. Many are designed to be used for the interior of books and are only pleasing to the eye when kept small. If you don’t have the background to determine if a specific font will look good blown up to the size you need it, consult an expert.
9) Thou Shalt Choose Font Colors Wisely
Not every font works well (is readable, etc.) in every color. Make sure to look at the entirety of your communication in the color and font you’re selecting prior to ordering a print run.
10) Thou Shalt Never Ever Ever Use the Following Fonts for Business Purposes:
Comic Sans, Chiller, Kristen, Curlz, Papyrus, Wingdings, Viner, etc.
An Incomplete List
There’s a reason that most professional designers and art directors have advanced degrees. There is a tremendous learning curve involved in navigating the parameters of good design to the point where you can not only tell if something isn’t working, but why it’s not working and how to fix it. If you are confused by this brief list of rules of thumb when selecting fonts for business communication you’re probably best off consulting with the professionals at your printer or bringing in a designer to help you.