After running into several instances where fonts were predefined for my designs it seems the average person doesn’t quite understand the importance of a font. Now that is expected, but when a brand manager, senior developer, or marketing expert tells you not to worry about the font because they follow the brand, it’s like telling someone “Here eat this nectarine, it’s not the peach you wanted but they’re pretty much the same”. Would you be satisfied eating the nectarine when a peach is sweeter?
To emphasize the importance of our (or others’) font choices I’ve decided to outline a few things we can do to work with fonts given to us by clients to make great designs, even though the selected font doesn’t quite match the aesthetics the client is expecting.
1. Create contrast with font sizes
This may take some practice, but if you intentionally create font contrast it will allow you to put the focus on the fonts and content that work better with the look ‘n feel you are going for.
2. Use bolds, oblique, and lights
Make full use of your font weights including the bolds, oblique, and lights. There is nothing saying that you can’t use a bolded font as a paragraph font. Remember it’s not about what the font weight is. It’s about the readability and its ability to draw attention and allow for quick reading.
3. Stroke, stroke, stroke!
Maybe your font is too thin or hard edged for your liking and does mesh with the look your client is expecting. Of course you might not want to tell him to change his font choice – if you do though, you’d be doing both of you a favor. In the case that you can’t do this add strokes to your titles or sub-headings to help round out the edges. Alternatively, try using gradients and inner glows to create harder edges for those very bubbly fonts.
4. Use your colors
Lighten up the color of your font. Sometimes you’d be surprised at how different a font looks with a light grey instead of a black. Majority of the sites today don’t use the full black because it sharpens fonts and creates too much contrast.
5. Make it 3D or inset
Surprisingly a bubbly font can become quite heavy and sharp when it’s turned into a 3D shape. The weight of a three dimensional shape will offset the lightness of a bubbly font. For those light fonts it could also give it that grounding you’re looking for and solidify its presence. Alternatively, try using and inset emboss to push text into the back.
One last point and rule all designers should be following already – “Always use the proper font based on you client’s needs and request”. And the reason I say this is because, in my experience I have run into several instances where an agency or designer has attempted to use a ‘similar’ font to replace a company font because they didn’t have the proper fonts installed on their computer. Don’t be lazy, your client may not know, but other designers will. I hope this has been helpful and insightful…there will be more to come!