In the land of DIY...Five font principles to follow

It is well known that we currently live in a very enabling society, even when people should not be enabled.

For example, not everyone is a designer. 

There, I said it. 

It's okay. Not all my dreams came true either.

With that out in the open, one of my nerdy passions is type. From letterpress, to hand drawn, to computer generated, I love typefaces. I will even point to fonts in public and say the name of the font (I am very special). 

So on to the good stuff. If you are still attempting a DIY project that involves type. Here are five font principles to know.

1. When deciding on fonts, use two font families per document. No one likes font overkill and on top of it you lose people's attention. Most of us can't handle more than two fonts at a time. The human brain either gets confused in trying to find the important information or loses interest in figure it out.

2. For text heavy or formal documents use a Serif font. It helps the eye continue through the reading processes with ease. For example, a company newsletter or a book.

For headers or signs use a San Serif font.  They are better for attention grabbing and single sentence instructions. For example, a highway sign for "Exit 86" or the title of your newsletter.

3. If you want to spice up your font life, pair a San Serif or Serif font with a decorative or handwritten font. But a word to the wise, be very selective about your specialty fonts. 

Think of it this way. You want people to be able to read the word, know it's level of hierarchy on the page and why it is important. Of course, when in doubt, simple is always better.

Decorative and handwritten fonts can be used for headers on wedding or birthday invitations or as a graphic word element on a project.

4. Use specialty sites with caution. There are a couple of websites with "free fonts" that you can download. Make sure when you download a font you read the instructions. If you are using a font and the author says it is for "Personal Use Only" that means you can't use the font for anything in which you are going to make money. Double check that when an author labels a download font FREE, it is free for you to use in any venue.

5. Sometimes it is better to leave it up to a professional. If you have a big occasion coming up, like a wedding, and you want the job done well and have the outcome be what you mentally conjured up, then research a designer. It is well worth it!


P.S. Never use all caps unless it is for one word titles or names, or if you are my Aunt Judi, My Aunt Judi can't see type on the computer unless it is in all caps. Love you Aunt Judi! ox