How to find the perfect typeface for your next project
Let’s try to narrow down potential candidates based on the criteria of personality, functionality and accessibility.
Do you find yourself overwhelmed with the vast amount of typefaces to choose from when you kick-off a new design project? Let’s try to narrow down potential candidates based on the criteria of personality, functionality and accessibility.
Typography controls the visual appearance of any written content. Finding the right personality is quite difficult because even the slightest difference in curves or contrast can influence its character. Ask yourself what would fit the tone of the project? Are you aiming for something that feels playful, elegant, casual or modern? There is no general rule, just trust your gut feeling and experiment!
Knowing the audience and the context where text is going to be used, is crucial for selecting the appropriate font. Based on the type of project, these are some basic parameters to look for.
Multiple weights and well designed italics create a balanced hierarchy structure. Condensed options work great for small spaces. Look for special characters and language sets if a project needs to support different languages.
Some projects require advanced OpenType features that can change the appearance of texts. Like tabular lining for columns of numbers that need to align vertically, or alternate characters that make small adjustments when a line of text is used at different font sizes.
Now it’s time to look at the details. A good reading experience starts with legibility, especially for readers with lower vision. Legibility determines how well a character can be distinguished from another, making a typeface clear and easy to read.
As a general rule, typefaces with a tall x-height usually appear larger and more easy to read from a distance or small font sizes.
Whitespace within characters helps to define their shape. Large open counters keep the ends of a character from connecting, when reading circumstances decrease. You can quickly test this by adding a thick outline to small sized characters.
When you’re aiming for legibility, try to avoid similar shapes. Typically the capital ‘i’ and lowercase‘L’ of sans-serif fonts can look almost identical.
Resources & Links to click
- Professional Web Typography by Donny Truong
- The A-Z of typographic terms | Fontsmith Blog
- The History of Typography — Animated Short on Vimeo