Does your choice of font signify you as a terrifying beast?

This is a question we should all be asking ourselves from time to time. Let me begin by assuring you that I’m no saint when it comes to typography. I’ve done terrible things. I’ve been known to mangle the kerning, to terrorise the leading, to poke, prod, smoosh and to generally commit all kinds of ghastly typographical crime at the whim of some particularly ill-informed and fussy clients.

I have no wish to be a big, judgmental fun sponge, spoiling the good times you’ve had procrastinating the day away in Microsoft Word, playing with Papyrus and pretending you’re in Avatar. I really don’t. But this must be said:

Stop using weird fonts in weird places, you weirdo.

we all know this looks bad

There. I’ve said it. Now, there are plenty of other (better) blogs and articles all over the internet telling you not to use Comic Sans, Papyrus, and a multitude of other fonts. I don’t want to regurgitate what others have already said, true though it may be.

What I want you to do is to think about why you’re choosing certain typefaces, what you’re trying to achieve, and why you’re actually using the services of a graphic designer in the first place.

Firstly, what are you choosing a font for? Is it a business card? Those are quite small. Type on a business card is frequently between 6pt and 9pt, depending on how much information you put on there. Does 6pt type really need to be heavily decorated with curls and effects jumping around the page? Or do you just want people to be able to read it clearly? Trust me, there’s plenty of room on that card for branding and clever graphic design, you don’t have to make your mobile number illegible. And that goes for any other block of small-ish text that needs to be read and understood (on a brochure, booklet etc).

Say you’ve found a font you love, and you now want to use it on EVERYTHING. But you’ve shown several graphic designers and they’ve all thrown themselves out of the nearest high rise window in despair at your decision. Time for a rethink.

What did you love so much about the font? Let’s say you chose the hideous font Papyrus. You may like this because you think it says this about your business:

Papyrus think

When in reality most typophiles see that font and automatically think this about your business:

Papyrus reality

So, instead of forcing your graphic designer to use Papyrus on every piece of marketing s/he designs for you (and putting him/her on the brink of a mental breakdown due to social exclusion by his/her colleagues) maybe you should explain the feelings that you’d like to express and let them perform some Adobe-fied magic! If they’re a good designer, they can give your project some rustic, natural vibes without resorting to manky typography.

It is not your job to be choosing typefaces. Do you have a library of over 20,000 fonts to frolic in and deliberate over? No. Have you spent at least 2 years of your post high school education being interrogated by a woman with a blunt bob cut and sensible shoes as to why this poster uses Garamond instead of Caslon? No. Have you spent many a tipsy Saturday night alienating your friends in the foyer of a movie theatre by raving on about the overuse of chipped typefaces? No.

Put down the mouse. Back away from the Microsoft Word font menu. Seriously, it’s best for everyone if we just leave this particular breed of crazy up to the professionals.

2 thoughts on “Does your choice of font signify you as a terrifying beast?

  1. This post was super funny. I couldn’t stop giggling. I actually read through this whole rant, and would whole heartedly agree with you.

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