When it comes to design, choosing the right font is crucial. Whether you’re working on a new website, sales materials, presentation deck, annual report or social media posts, the wrong font can make your message difficult to read or even convey the wrong tone. A lot of my smaller business clients, who haven’t yet invested in a full branding toolkit resort to picking out their own fonts when building out their marketing. I put this guide together to help you figure out if your font choices pass muster and to help your design be more effective.
Mistake 1: Choosing a font that‘s difficult to read.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when choosing a font is selecting one that is difficult to read. This can include fonts that are too small, too thin, or have intricate designs that make it hard to distinguish between letters. It’s important to choose a font that is legible and easy to read, especially for longer blocks of text. Consider the different uses you will give the font. It might look great at size 80 pt for a poster on your window, but it might look terrible when written in all caps or placed against a busy background. Your font should be legible at both large and small sizes, and should bring enough contrast when placed on a photo background. When you’re using the font for block text: like in headings, and body copy; look for a serif or a sans serif typeface. When you’re working on a 2-3 word accent font that will be used very sparingly, then you can branch out a little and go into scripts, or displays.
Mistake 2: Using too many different fonts in one design.
While it may be tempting to use a variety of fonts to add visual interest to your design, using too many can actually be overwhelming and confusing for the viewer. Stick to using no more than two or three fonts in a single design, and make sure they complement each other well. Using too many different fonts can make your design look unprofessional and cluttered. You can use font weight and width (like condensed and extended versions of the same font) to bring variety to a block of text without having to branch out into additional font families. Look for a font that has lots of variants, so that you can have a lot to choose from.
Mistake 3: Ignoring the context and purpose of the design.
One of the most common mistakes my clients make when choosing a font is ignoring the context and purpose of the design. Fonts convey different emotions and messages, so it’s important to choose a font that aligns with the tone and purpose of your design and your brand/product/service. For example, a playful and whimsical font may not be appropriate for a serious business proposal. If you take the time to consider the context and purpose of your design before selecting a font, you will avoid this common mistake.
Mistake 4: Not considering the target audience when choosing a font.
Another common mistake when choosing a font is not considering the target audience. As I have mentioned before, in other blog posts, you – mr. or ms. business owner – are not necessarily the audience you’re trying to reach. A font choice that might appear to be a no-brainer for you might be a complete turn-off for your audience avatar. Different age groups, cultures, and industries may have different preferences and expectations when it comes to fonts. You should research and understand your target audience to ensure that the font you choose resonates with them and effectively communicates your message.
Mistake 5: Using trendy fonts that may quickly become outdated.
While it may be tempting to use the latest trendy font, it’s important to consider the longevity of your design. Trendy fonts may quickly become outdated and make your design look dated. For pieces with a longer shelf life, like a website redesign, you can opt for classic and timeless fonts that will stand the test of time. You can take more risks with pieces that are more ephemeral like on event graphics that only get used once.
Clearly, I am passionate about fonts. If you are sitting just scrolling the list of available fonts back and forth and don’t know what to do next, I’d love to chat. While branding is not directly in my wheelhouse; I am more than able to help you select a stable of fonts that match your existing brand and can help you keep your marketing graphics fresh.