I can’t stress the importance of typography in design enough. Though, sadly it is often overlooked or misused. With a basic understanding, everyone can improve on simple typesetting. Documents with polish and a touch of style will enhance your image and professionalism. You may have noticed differences in typefaces and even have some preferences, but maybe you don’t know exactly why.
Anatomy of Type
Each letter is a shape made of individual components. The components are created and compiled by type designers, whose sole job is to create striking typefaces for us to use.
Below is a chart showing all of the various parts of a font.
What the Hell is a Serif?
Typefaces fall into several classifications. There’s serif or san serif, script, blackletter, hand-drawn, stencil, or calligraphic – and that’s just to start. Honestly, it’s endless and easy to get overwhelmed when seeing all the options! Thousands upon thousands for free, and that’s just at one website. The best idea is to go free font hunting with a goal. Maybe you have a big headline for a flyer and want to accentuate it with a bold, eye-catching font. Or you are writing a business document and would like to use something beyond the basics in your word processing software. Now that you have a goal, visit one of the many free font websites online and start browsing – this is the fun part!
Consider your audience and intended purpose when making your choice. A formal business letter would have the right tone with a subtle, professional-looking font that isn’t too flashy. Look at the serifs and san serifs instead of a hand-drawn font. And that bold headline? Go for it with a display font style appropriate for your message and audience. That could be a script, decorative or retro style font – it’s all up to your taste. Generally speaking, the larger the font (i.e., a headline), the more detail the font can have. If it’s small type, like body copy in an article, that should be a more simplistic font for readability. Use your best judgment, play around with it and have fun.
The link below can guide you on how to install fonts on your system
A Word of Advice
Careful not to download and install too many fonts; it will tax your system. Consider using font management software if you are a designer and want to work with hundreds of fonts. Without that software, your font library will try to all load and always be available with everything you use – which will slow your computer down and give you technical issues.
Other Font Topics
Finding and installing a perfect font is the first step in making your document look polished. From there, we get into font pairing, kerning, leading, weights and management. All topics for another day, another article.