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How To Choose The Right Font: The Full Guide To Font Libraries

How To Choose The Right Font: The Full Guide To Font Libraries

Oftentimes, having many options creates more confusion than having no alternatives at all. When you have the entire collection of fonts with several thousands of typefaces, you naturally find yourself lost.

That is if you have no idea what to look for. If you visit the library without having defined criteria, you’ll be overwhelmed by the multitude of options – each one seems more attractive than the previous one. 

Where to start picking a font?

Once you’ve determined the starting point for your selection, going ahead is easier. The initial push comes from research. Here is how to do it. 

  • Analyze your competitors. The shortest way of figuring out what you want to do is to understand what you don’t. Take a look at your competitors’ styles and pick more favorite and the least successful options. Afterward, analyze each of them and write the results down. 
  • Create a mood board. The font doesn’t work on its own. Make sure that the pick fits with the overall brand aesthetic. If you don’t have a clear idea of your creative vision, start with the mood board – the selection of images, color schemes, and fonts that display your company’s tone of voice. 
  • Define the profile of your target audience. It’s one thing if you like a particular example of a font. You also need to make sure that your audience understands the beauty of the chosen typography. To get a clearer idea, define the portrait of your target audience – age, occupation, gender, location, hobbies.
  • Consider what emotions you want the script to convey. Don’t shy away from taking the inspiration from movies, TV shows, and work of successful companies. Iconic typefaces directly inspire some of the fonts – you can get the Waltograph font download for free (this one was created with Disney’s script in mind). 

Learn the terminology

You need to know what you are working with. The first step of educating yourself about the field is drawing the distinctions between a font and a typeface. Although these terms seem to be used almost interchangeably by many experts, these two don’t mean the same thing. 

Knowing the difference simplifies navigating through libraries and foundries.

A typeface is a font family that unites multiple fonts with variations of height, formating, ornamentation, slant, and condensation. 

The font has a combined weight and style, a part of a typeface. If Times New Roman is a typeface, that the Serif variation is a font. 

When you see the filter ‘fonts’ in the library, be ready to download only one variation. The typeface, on the other hand, typically includes 5-25 fonts. If you only need a specific font but end up purchasing the typeface, consequently, you’ll spend much more money

It’s time to choose a font

After you have the questions to fundamental answers – the ones discussed before – in place, it’s time to start looking through your options. Shorten the information about your target audience and competitor’s analysis to the single list of short criteria and open it on the next tab. 

As an example, we use Google Fonts– but you can use a similar strategy on any font library. 

  1. Start browsing libraries by exploring the main font criteria. Typically, the characteristics include Serif, Sans Serif, handwriting, monoscript, and display. Start the search without adding other criteria. You want to keep the choice as big as possible on the first stages. Font libraries tend to often surprise designers, offering an option that you’d never consider, but that’s, nevertheless, very attractive.
  2. 2: Don’t neglect the possibility of setting your own preview sentence. Entrer a phrase that you often use on the website or advertising – it can be your slogan or campaign tagline. You want to see the examples in the context of your business, not on random samples.
  3. You’ll see different variations of the letter’s thickness. Typical modifications include thin, medium, normal, bold, extra bold, black. Some typefaces offer additional size variations – it depends on the particular collection. Choose 2-3 options of different thickness and apply them to your advertising materials – see what fits best.
  4. Pay attention to kerning. Kerning refers to the amount of space between nearby letters. Kerning decides how balanced the entire font looks. Don’t forget, the text is read not in symbols, but sentences – you need to check whether the letters look good in long reads. 
  5. For premium brands, the first option from the picture above is a more suitable choice. Generally, the more expensive your brand is, the more slender the letters are – but don’t take this rule to an extreme. If your business is oriented on the large target group, you can pick the option on the second example. Casual rounded letters with bold style attract attention and stick in the memory.

Additionally, you can sort fonts by their status in the library. The majority of libraries include Google Fonts, offer the following criteria:

  • Trending now – favorite fonts of the platform users – a good idea if you are looking for a font for a long text body. If you need a font for a logo, avoid trending options – they are too popular. 
  • Most popular – this one is a definite no-go. You’ll see the OGs of the font collection, the designs that have been so overused that users know their names by heart. It’s okay if you need a safe choice for text formatting; if your goal is branding, steer clear of the most popular fonts. 
  • Newest. This is your target filter if you are looking for logo fonts. 
  • Name  – if you are searching the font by a particular name, the library will offer the fonts of that title and all the related ones, too. 

Don’t forget to play with sizes, colors, and backgrounds. The font may look good on the small letters and a classic black-and-white combination. However, throughout your business, you’ll have to use your font in much more versatile settings. You need to make sure it’s readable extra small and large sizes. Also, check whether the text looks good in combination with your brand colors. 

If you don’t have an established brand identity, take your time to define the company’s main colors before you start looking for a font. 

Don’t forget the ‘Featured’ tab

This is your leading destination for getting creative inspiration. In the featured collections, fonts are regularly changing, and these are usually the most peculiar designs on the platform. You will see the detailed description of each font/typeface, and scroll through the most popular options. 

If you didn’t keep track of modern design trends, it’s best to start your search directly from the ‘Featured’ tab. The same advice follows for those who don’t have a formed artistic vision of their brand yet.

Keep learning

Beginning designers often ignore the importance of knowledge of the industry. Even if you don’t work as a graphic designer as your regular field of expertise, now you are a designer – and you want to do things professionally. 

The crucial font aspects that need your attention

  • Cross-platform integration. You want to make sure that your font is adapted to Mac, Windows, Linux, and mobile versions – Android, iOS. 
  • Multi-lingual support. Not all fonts can be used with the Cyrillic or Arabic alphabet. If you are working with the international audience, this matter defines your success. 
  • Development trends. Font APIs, best WordPress plugins, and HTML updates – you need to keep track of this technology to ensure that your website corresponds with the latest standards.

Google Fonts’ articles are a great place to start. You don’t have to go through each text, of course – at least, scroll through headlines. Also, let’s just take a moment to appreciate the article thumbnails – you might get some inspiration for your blog, too. 

It’s easy to get lost in the font library and end up with the wrong choice. However, once you have an understanding of what you are looking for, defined criteria, and basic knowledge of the field, you might enjoy the font choice.

Remember that the choice of your brand’s image font is a long-term investment. Taking several days to analyze the market and audience before choosing the typeface is, therefore, a must. The successful font choice will contribute to your success for years which is why it’s worth the time and effort. 

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