It is amazing how meaning is emphasized by the way a word is typed. Font carries with it special attributes that make it touch the reader in a subliminal way. For this reason, font has been used as to ensure that a message is imparted not just to be read by the eyes but to be felt by the emotion.
Each font is symbolic and has its own history. Every font has a reason why it has been designed so and why it has been named so. The story behind the conceptualization of a font gives it its unique character. But it does not end there. Font evolves along with the changing times. It marries another to create an entire genealogy of fonts.
A good designer knows how to use font to make a very compelling statement. He knows that the word “wedding” would better be written in Flemish Script rather than Courier New. He knows that it would be inappropriate to use the Curlz font in writing something about the military.
The choice of font is critically essential in design. Tons of books and articles have been written to guide designers on what they call “fontography” and “typography”, ranging from history to vectorization of fonts. Apart from all the logical explanations and helpful hints and tips and tricks that you get from books and the Internet, you have your own decision-making tools such as gut feeling and pure common sense.
GETTING INTO THE SOUL OF A FONT
The most important thing about using font in design is get into the soul of the font, allowing it to commune with your senses and emotions. Feel what the font expresses and when use it to type your text, see if that is the feeling you would want to impart your readers. After that, you can change your text and font attributes for better suitability.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT FONT
As a bit of seatwork, you can try this exercise on font selection. We will borrow a link from the website of Software Usability Research Laboratory of the Wichita State University. Please click on the following link: http://psychology.wichita.edu/surl/usabilitynews/3S/compare.htm and try to decide which paragraph has been appropriately written. There really is no right or wrong answer, although there could be one in particular there that would get the most votes.
The choice of font must not depend solely on the topic of the text. You should also consider how this paragraph would appear on your page layout: is it part of a larger composition where it should appear continuously with the other paragraphs, or is it something that should appear with more emphasis than the rest of the text?
FOR LOGO DESIGNERS
And now here’s something for logo designers. Nothing. ^_^ There is nothing I can tell you that you don’t already know. You have it there with you and you’ve known it all along. It’s all about being sensitive. You are dealing with emotions. You want to make a logo that speaks your message. Furthermore, your client wants a logo that would be powerful enough to carry on the brand image and make it popular for generations. You know what to do. Follow your heart. Use your senses. Choose a font with the attributes that best matches your emotions. If you do this successfully, you would not at all need a graphic image- your text will stand out and be recognized as a very powerful brand logo.
The soul of a font- it’s what you need to get along with- be it for an article such as this, for a web banner that scrolls or flashes, or a logo that is to be remembered for ages. It is the way a font speaks that should tell you when to use it and for what purpose. It is the one important factor that will enable you close all those written tutorials and guidelines and get on right away with your design …and feel good about it, too! ^_^
Finally, here are some very familiar brand logos that exemplify good use of fontography:
Have fun with fonts!