Fonts for Designers: 5 Clear Tips on Making the Right Design Choices

by fontspace

At Fontspace we offer a plethora of free fonts for designers that will come in handy for all kinds of projects. The question is, how do I make good font choices? Other than preferences and instincts, which should not be ignored, what is the best way to make good typeface choices? Here's 5 reliable pointers with some included free font examples from our site. 

1. Choosing your arsenal. Designers have a number of workhorse fonts that they retreat to often. Normally a good "go-to" is a font with a lot of weight varieties (light, regular, semibold, bold, etc.) and cuts, such as italic, condensed, and so on. Make sure your workhorse is not a "script" font, or decorative font, these tend to have too much personality for regular usage. 

Example: Titillium web font, created by Accademia di Belle Arti di Urbino

2. Legibility. The question of readability is at the heart of every typographic endeavor. You are trying to get a message across. In print, the difference in font readability can be negligible between non-decorative fonts, in the serif and sans-serif categories. Yet, in electronic media, sans-serif fonts have proven easier to read. Have a sans-serif font in your arsenal that you rely on for digital projects. Important note: Some fonts look very different when displayed at smaller or larger sizes.

Example: Quicksand by Andrew Paglinawan

3. Know your font personality: Fonts say a lot about who they are and where they come from just from their design. A proportional serif font, can have a classic, easy going feel; the smooth curves and serifs give it a link to historical antecedents and a dead-pan legibility. Sans-serif fonts are more straight-forward, modern, economic in design and not distracting. Their crisp, mechanical look, leaves little for interpretation, and leaves out cultural associations. 

4. Chose decorative fonts accordingly: Decorative fonts are artistic, full of personality and meaning. Great care should be applied to matching these "busy" fonts with the appropriate mood or feeling of your project, as well as adhering to the sentiment and aim of your document. 

5. Know your Typeface Categories: Having an understanding of what sets font classes apart will help you make better choices for your documents. For instance, it's a bad idea to mix serif fonts with sans-serif fonts; but you knew that. Here's a concise list of the most prominent typeface categories and what they are about. 

Geometric Sans: Clear, objective, modern sans-serif fonts that have strict geometric forms. Think Helvetica. 

Example: Regencie font by Álvaro Thomáz

Humanist Sans: Sans-serif clean and modern fonts, that retain a handwritten, human edge. They have subtle details, and involve thinner and thicker stroke weights. 

Example: Whipsmart by Nymphont 

Old Style: These are the originators, the serif typefaces that come from centuries of evolution and calligraphic forms. Classic, traditional and readable. Not to be mistaken with decorative fonts. 

Example: Accanthis ADF Std font by Arkandis Digital Foundry

Transitional, Modern and Slab Serif: These serif fonts are not of the "modern" twentieth century variety, but products of the 19th century. More geometric, mechanical and sharp variations of the old style that master the contrast of thick and thin strokes.  Slab Serifs (also known as Egyptian) are blockier, more artistic in their mechanical style, they have strong personalities, but adhere to the design rules of this group. 

Example: Code New Roman font by Sam Radian

Script: These typefaces encapsulate handwritten-looking fonts, based on flexible pen designs, or brush calligraphy.  

Example:Remachine Script Personal Use Font by Måns Grebäck

Contact us to learn how to contribute your own typeface designs. Help enrich the design choices for designers everywhere by adding to our catalogue of thousands of free fonts that will suit all amateur and professional graphic design needs.