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5 Simple Steps To Choose The Right Font For Your Design

Typography is the art of expressing by means of types or symbols.
It is, according to David Jury, the Head of Graphic Design at Colchester Institute in England, "something everybody does" in this digital age where you can download fonts with a click of a button.
And yet, for almost 'everybody' I know of, yes even designers, choosing the right font can be a frustrating experience.
This article will break down the process of selecting the right font for your design into 5 straightforward steps.
I wrote this for web designers, but others can gain from reading it as well.
Let's get started.
STEP 1: FIND READABLE TYPEFACES First rule, don't overthink it.
You might not want to follow the giant crowd of Helvetica users.
And, you somehow ask yourself, why Helvetica? Well, let me tell you...
Cause it's just so damn good! It fits right in with every design imaginable, it works well in small, as well as huge sizes.
But, for those who have a strong distaste for Helvetica, here's a simple process I follow when selecting a type for the body content of my website.
First, you pick a font, paid or free fonts, that you like.
Then, scale the font size down to around 10pt.
If, you can still read the text without any squinting, congratulate yourself.
You've chosen well, my friend.
STEP 2: DETERMINE SIZE & HIERARCHY As a general rule, the font size for your content should be 12pt.
Some sites even use 14pt for better readability.
The title will generally have a larger font size.
But, there's no hard and fast rule in visual hierarchy.
It's all relative.
You can use color to distinguish the most important title.
Or, you might just choose a totally different font for your titles to give them more meaning, instead.
The choice is yours.
STEP 3: BE LEADING & TRACKING Leading is the space between each lines of text.
Bad leading can make an amazing piece of copy looks boring and hard to swallow.
While, good leading can make an even bad copy looks readable.
As a general rule, the standard CSS line-height for a block of text is 1.
5 times the font size.
Tracking refers to the space between each characters in a block of text to affect its density and texture.
The reader will perceive the text differently depending on the amount of spacing.
Tight tracking, or negative letter-spacing, not only reduce the legibility and readability of text.
It might also trigger cultural association of a more subjective typographic voice - the equivalent of a fast-talking car salesman.
Conversely, the increase of letter-spacing in text (to an extent) increases legibility, and the cultural association is of a more objective voice.
STEP 4: SPLASH SOME COLORS I'm not talking about color scheme here.
Instead, this is about choosing the color combination for better readability.
The common mix is black text against white background and white text against black background.
But, you can mix and match any color so long as the content is readable.
STEP 5: GET PAIRING Most of the time, it is not enough to use just 1 font for your content.
You might need want to use serif font for your title and sans-serif font for your content text.
Or vice versa.
There's no absolute rule in choosing this mix.
But, you can based your choice upon several best practices.
First, combine a sans serif with a serif.
It's a classic combination and almost impossible to get wrong.
Second, contrast font weights.
Avoid muddy typographic hierarchy by distinguishing elements in the hierarchy from one another.
Third, don't mix moods.
Each typeface have its own personality.
And, mixing the mood of typefaces can draw attention to the typography instead of the message, which results in a poor design.
Finally, create a typographic texture variation.
Play with font weight, size, stroke width, leading, kerning, and several other factors.
One easy way to see typographic texture is to squint at a layout until you can't read it anymore, but can still see the text in terms of its overall tonal value.
IN CONCLUSION Paul Rand, an American art director who design some of the world's most recognizable logos (including IBM and Steve Job's NeXT), once said "Copy, art, and typography should be seen as a living entity; each element integrally related, in harmony with the whole, and essential to the execution of an idea.
" I hope this article helps you do just that.
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