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Marketing Monday Q&A: Font Advice for Graphic Design

Angela Smith
Content Promotion Coordinator

Unless you’re a graphic designer, or work with typography often, you may not know the differences between the kinds of fonts or the best practices that are associated with them.

This edition of Monday Marketing Q&A features our resident font bracketologist and Graphic Designer, Erik Pitzer, and covers all things fonts. We’re going over the different types and when to use them, serif vs. sans-serif, which font to use on your resume, and more. 

Check out the full video here:

Question 1: What are the different categories of fonts, and what is each used for?

Erik Pitzer:

The categories can be broken down in a number of different ways, but the two most common varieties are serif and sans-serif. Serif fonts have the little hooks and feet on certain characters, like the common default font, Times New Roman. These kinds of fonts are often best for print pieces and hard copy materials, as they are easy to read. The serif fonts make each individual letter shape more distinctive and easier for the reader’s brain to recognize the letter shape quickly.

A sans-serif font is something like Arial or Helvetica. Sans-serif fonts are best for on screen viewing or for very small type. The number of pixels required in these situations are less than what's needed for quality printed materials, allowing for the font to still be strong and legible.

Handwriting and script fonts are two other categories, though these are not used by most people as regularly as serif and sans-serif. All other fonts can fall into a “decorative” category. Use these kinds sparingly in copy or design products, perhaps only for individual words or characters, as sometimes they can be overwhelming and difficult to read.

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Question 2: How should I choose a font for my business or brand?

Erik Pitzer:

If you’re looking for a font for your brand, follow these general rules of thumb:

Don’t choose a font that everyone uses or everyone knows. We’re looking at you if you’ve ever used Papyrus before. If your business’ font comes in Microsoft Word 2003, it’s probably not the best choice for your brand. Try for something a little more unique that will seem more professional. Perhaps consider custom typography or find an uncommon font to use and switch out a couple characters for a custom look.

Aim to have two to three branded fonts. Businesses should have no more than three fonts on hand. These can be used primarily for web or printed materials. Once you get beyond three fonts, it gets to be too much.

Pro tip: Avoid Comic Sans and Papyrus.

Question 3: What is the best font to use on a resume?

Erik Pitzer:

This could vary by industry. If you’re in a more traditional field like accounting or finance, it’s best to stick with a standard font like Times New Roman or Palatino. If you work in a creative field, like graphic design, you have a bit more leeway. Choose a clean, sans-serif font, perhaps something like Avenir. Don’t get too crazy with script or handwriting fonts, even for typing your name. It just doesn’t look professional for a resume.

Want to dive deeper into the world of fonts? Specifically, the worst fonts ever?You’re in luck.

Illumine8 Marketing & PR is on the quest to crown the worst of them all with our Font Madness bracket. Erik has expertly assembled a regionalized bracket with 64 of the worst fonts known to mankind, and you get to choose which move on to the next round. Vote for your least favorite fonts to help us determine the winner… or loser.

If you have a marketing question for us, please leave a comment or send us a message and we'll answer it in our next video. If you enjoyed this week’s edition of Marketing Monday Q&A, follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our Youtube channel.

Catch each episode on Mondays at 6 p.m., live on Facebook.

 

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