Selecting an appropriate typeface or family for text usage is a key aspect of a design project. The best starting point is to confirm the requirements of your client and the needs of the audience.
Making the time to explore appropriate font options – whether it takes a few minutes or most of a day – is a smart investment. It will pave the way for an effective design solution and save time in the long run.
Here are a few key factors to consider when searching for an appropriate text typeface:
Know who your intended audience is, including their age range and particular interests. For instance, a very young audience (such as that for children’s books) requires a typeface with simple letterforms that “beginning reader” eyes can easily make out. On the other hand, designing for a high tech audience might warrant a typeface that looks clean and modern, or even edgy.
To attract and hold the reader’s attention, typefaces intended for text should be legible and easy to read. Save more decorative, eye-catching designs for headlines, titles, and other more prominent usages.
Serif vs Sans
It is commonly accepted that serif typefaces are easier to read for lengthy copy than sans serifs, especially at smaller sizes. This is true in many situations, but not an absolute rule. Other factors to consider before making your decision include the reading environment, meaning whether it will be in print or on the Web, and the design characteristics – especially the legibility – of the typeface being considered.
Font family size
Explore the project’s typographic requirements, and determine beforehand how large a font family is needed to meet all of your typographic needs. While two weights with italics might be enough for some jobs, others might require additional weights and versions to create good visual hierarchy necessary for a strong, effective piece.
The key to choosing a typeface for text is to do your homework first, so you can narrow down your choices to those that meet the needs of the job and will express your client’s message most effectively.