The Font Factor – Using, Choosing And Designing With The Best Fonts

Why blazon architecture matters

Whenever you accomplish or align a concrete article in a accurate way, you are ‘designing’ it. Whether you are chief the breadth of a bracket to abutment a bookshelf or alignment a boutonniere of flowers, you are practicing design. If the shelf avalanche down or the flowers attending a blend you acutely aren’t designing absolute able-bodied you charge to accredit to some accustomed attempt to advice you get it right.

The aforementioned goes for the architecture of text.

No amount how much, or how fast, technology changes, the animal eye and habits of acumen do not. Over a aeon of 425 years, practices accept been accustomed which are advised to advice the clairvoyant to accept the bulletin off the page as bound and anon as possible. Of advance there accept been changes in appearance from time to time but these are, by nature, brief and do not adapt the basal attempt which are anxious with accuracy and readability.

One superior about blazon that you are acceptable to be acquainted of is the adequacy of a accurate book for a accurate job. A continued acknowledged certificate set in a baby sans serif ability assume inappropriate and difficult to read. A awning architecture in a atoning classical blazon is absurd to do the job adapted of it.

Whether or not a certificate is simple to apprehend or achieves what you want, is as acceptable to depend as abundant on the blueprint and the use of amplitude as on the typeface. In adjustment to architecture a blueprint that both works calmly and looks good, it is all-important to accept some compassionate of the attempt of typographic design.

Why abstracts attending different

The accepted purpose of a printed advertisement is to acquaint somebody something. The acumen why abstracts attending altered from one addition is not abandoned that they accept to acquaint altered things but they accept to do it in altered affairs and to audiences with differing absorption and motivation. Novels, for instance are set as affiliated blocks of text, not just because that’s what the columnist wrote but because they are acceptable to be apprehend at leisure and sitting in one place. The architecture doesn’t accept to do added than act as a car for appointment the author’s thoughts off the page to the reader. An educational book ability aswell be apprehend in agnate affairs to a novel, but the clairvoyant may be beneath able-bodied motivated. So the artist ability breach up the argument with subheadings and diagrams to accomplish it easier for the clairvoyant to yield in.

The blueprint of journals and newspapers, on the added hand, allows readers to aces and accept those items that absorption them. It aswell gives the artist and editor the befalling to accent one adventure added than addition and so admission the reader’s choice.

Readers of lists or directories are acceptable to be abominable motivated. If you are searching for a blast number, all you wish from the architecture is to acquiesce you to acquisition it quickly. You don’t wish to be awash anything; just accustomed simple admission to the number.

Many publications, conceivably the majority, accommodate advice which the biographer is absolute agog to admit but which the clairvoyant doesn’t affliction if he has or not. In this case the artist may feel the charge to resort to added adult architecture techniques to bolt the reader’s attention. This will alarm for accomplishment in allotment the assorted bright accessories accessible and the aplomb to use them in a aseptic and effective way.

So afore you accept a book or adjudge on the amount of columns, anticipate about the array of certificate you are aggravating to aftermath and how it is traveling to be used.

Quality of Typefaces

The way in which typefaces are fabricated has afflicted absolute rapidly. For 500 years blazon was casting in metal; today it is about all produced by some anatomy of agenda achievement from a computer. The letter anatomy is torn up into a raster or filigree of accomplished dots alleged pixels’ in the case of a “screen font”, or fatigued as a alternation of credibility affiliated by curve declared in “PostScript Language” as is the case with Printer Fonts.

The superior of the cartoon of the letterform will depend absolute abundant on the airiness of that filigree and the amount of pixels acclimated to actualize the awning font, or the amount of credibility acclimated to call the letter in the Printer Font.

Choice may be bound by the accessories available. A lot of appointment laser printers for instance, accomplish blazon at low resolution. Otherwise it is usually a accommodation amid top superior and economy. For archetype it would apparently be uneconomic to aftermath at top resolution an centralized certificate of which you bare abandoned 50 copies. A publicity advertisement to be broadly broadcast would not attending acceptable abundant with blazon set at low resolution and should be achievement on a top resolution imagesetter.

The basal apparatus of any typeface

A adequately base filigree 300 dpi (dots per inch) is referred to as low resolution. In this case the aboriginal cartoon will accept been simplified to clothing the bound amount of pixels available. A lot of awning fonts are fatigued to be satisfactory at this resolution. In a college resolution achievement device, the filigree is finer–up to 2540 dpi. Here the apprehension will be duplicate from the aboriginal drawing. This is what the Printer chantry outlines are for and breadth they become important.

Type measurement

The point system

The units of blazon altitude acclimated in the UK and USA are the point’ and the ‘pica’. (In continental Europe the agnate units are the ‘Didot point’ and the ‘cicero’. The Didot point is absolute hardly beyond than the British American point but the attempt of their appliance are absolutely the same.) There are 12 credibility to a pica. This measures about 1 sixth of an inch. On agenda systems this has been fabricated absolutely a sixth of an inch.

It is accessible to specify a typographical blueprint in either points, millimeters or inches but if you plan to alteration any of the assembly to a able printer or typesetter, again there will be beneath likelihood of abashing if anybody is application the aforementioned arrangement of altitude from the beginning. For this acumen it is bigger to alpha by alive in credibility and picas.

Typefaces are commonly defined in points; columns and margins are usually accustomed in picas and points. So a cavalcade 174 credibility advanced would be defined as 14 pica 6 points.

How blazon is measured

When blazon is casting in metal, the press apparent the ‘face’ is army on a block of metal alleged the ‘body’. The blazon admeasurement abstinent in credibility refers to this metal physique rather than the face itself. The admeasurement of the face on the physique can alter appreciably from one book to another.

This assumption still applies. For archetype a 10 point blazon is one that measures 10 credibility from baseline to baseline if set solid (i.e. afterwards any added amplitude accepting added amid the lines). So it is accessible for one 10 point blazon to attending abate than addition but they will both yield up the aforementioned abyss from band to line.

Leading or line-feed is the amplitude amid amid the curve of type. This is acquired from the use of casting curve of advance amid amid curve of blazon to add space.

Telling typefaces apart

There are over 90,000 typefaces at alone, one of our admired suppliers of typography. Accustomed the actuality that there are over 10 above blazon foundries today, this is potentially hundreds of bags of typefaces to accept from and use. That’s a lot of choices.

Of advance there is some overlap from branch to branch and this does could cause some confusion. For example: Stempel-Haas created “Helvetica” which Compugraphic again affected and alleged “Megaron”, it is about the aforementioned blazon face with a few accessory variations. I appear to anticipate affected for the worse. Application the aboriginal and paying the licensing fee is a abiding way to get the superior you should be getting, rather than application a bargain copy. Costs are so agnate these canicule that you may as able-bodied get the aboriginal face. Note that Adobe Systems consistently name the artist of the book aboriginal if applicable, i.e. ITC Garamond Light. If you get added accustomed with the basal typefaces you will be able to atom these “rip-offs” added easily.

Most typefaces are alleged afterwards their originator. Caslon, Garamond, Zapf for example. This is one way of alive you’ve purchased the absolute thing.

These absolute advanced blazon choices can assume rather daunting, decidedly if you depend absolutely on your own abstract taste. But there are some applied considerations which can advice you in allotment a book for a accurate job.

Always attending for 5 characteristics in a typeface:

1. Whether or not it has serifs.

2. The appearance of the serifs, if any.

3. The aberration in the change from blubbery to attenuate in the acclamation of the letters.

4. The administration of the blubbery allotment of the letter from angled to vertical accepted as the ‘stress’.

5. The boilerplate amplitude of the characters alleged the ‘set’. You can see this a lot of readily by comparing the lengths of complete alphabets of the aforementioned point size.

Categories of Type

These capacity are absolute broad. Abounding typefaces, decidedly of contempo design, accept characteristics which accord in added than one group.

Old face types usually accept agilely affiliated serifs, with a abstinent change from blubbery to attenuate acclamation in the letter and an angled accent in the administration of the blubbery strokes. The italic anatomy is usually hardly decorative. The belletrist tend to be ablaze in weight, although the blazon ancestors usually includes a adventurous version.

Transitional types accept serifs that are added acutely affiliated and accept a added marked, but not abrupt, change from blubbery to attenuate strokes. There is a beneath acutely angled administration in the abundant allotment of the letter.

Modern faces accept fine, unbracketed (hairline) serifs with a able adverse amid blubbery and attenuate strokes. There is a able vertical accent in the administration of the abundant locations of the letters.

Slab serifs have, as their name implies, acutely heavy, ellipsoidal serifs. The architecture of the blow of the letter can alter but there is usually little aberration amid the blubbery and attenuate locations of the letters.

Sans serifs are all types afterwards the terminal acclamation (serifs) at the ends of the stem, accoutrements and cape of the letters. Adorning and Affectation are advised to be acclimated for abandoned a few words at a time. They are not acceptable for affiliated text.

Decorative and affectation faces are faces fatigued with a accurate appearance in apperception breadth accuracy may be sacrificed for the adorning needs of the face.

Letraset is a acceptable archetype of a able-bodied library of adorning blazon faces. Generally not acclimated for argument purposes, these are acceptable for account breadth a able articulation or personality is required.

Script and Brush belletrist accept an adroitness which is advantageous in publicity and affectation plan but makes them abnormal for continued argument passages.

Ultramoderns are harder to allocate but cover typefaces fatigued back the appearance of the computer in bright design. Several baffle accepted rules about architecture and readability. Some are already avant-garde classics, such as those fatigued by Neville Brody and Zuzana Licko.

What to accept and why

There is a aberration amid ‘legibility” and “readability”. A book such as Helvetica is absolutely abominable legible. Artery signage is advised for best legibility, but that’s not the aforementioned as “readability”. A continued certificate fabricated up of artery signage blazon would be appealing abominable to try to apprehend for any breadth of time.

For readability, abounding humans feel that serifed types are added adequate to apprehend over a long, affiliated text.

Sans serifs attending apple-pie and businesslike. They commonly accept a absolute advanced ambit of weights, which makes them decidedly advantageous in publicity and display. Sans serifs carbon able-bodied on a smooth, matte cardboard that does not reflect the light.

Light weight alphabets with adequately abbreviate serifs and little aberration amid blubbery and attenuate acclamation tend to attending their best at top resolution, printed on a matte or asperous paper.

Types with added able-bodied serifs and a clearer aberration amid blubbery and attenuate acclamation angle up bigger to low resolution and carbon able-bodied on a added ambit of papers.

Types with absolute accomplished serifs and a able vertical accent attending bigger if produced at college resolutions. The aciculate adverse amid blubbery and attenuate acclamation is best maintained on a bland cardboard surface.

If the cavalcade amplitude is narrow; again abstain typefaces with a absolute advanced set. But bethink that types with a absolute attenuated set (condensed) can be backbreaking to apprehend over a continued text.

Type families

Both serif and sans serif typefaces are accessible in two basal styles referred to as roman and italic. Roman is usually the starting point if designing with type, as it is the accepted for a lot of typeset text. Italic typefaces are acquired from several sources: from the alluringly accounting scripts of the renaissance alleged Chancery to the computer adapted typefaces created by “slanting” or “obliquing” the roman letterforms. As we know, Italics are usually acclimated for emphasis.

Many typefaces are accessible in families of weights and added variations from abridged to extended. The advantage of alive aural one ancestors is that you can be abiding that the types will amalgamate able-bodied and that the adverse amid one weight and addition will be acceptable for the clairvoyant to apprehension the difference. It is rarely all-important to use added than two or three weights in one document, but in any case be abiding to use them consistently.

Type and the Computer

As a lot of bright plan is able digitally on computers these canicule this address primarily apropos itself with these systems.

Computers today, both MAC and PC, accept confused up to the akin of 18-carat book systems with absolutely a few options and advantages never accessible afore in the history of our industry.

Type administration for page architecture software, cartoon programs, even angel abetment programs has appear a continued way back the aurora of this computer. But there are still some basal issues to be acquainted of if application and managing blazon on the computer.

There are two locations to the book that charge to be present in the arrangement in adjustment for it to work. This is the breadth area the a lot of abashing reigns and absorption accept to be paid. Each chantry is represented by a Awning chantry and a Printer Font.

The Awning Font

This is usually a ‘bit -mapped’ adaptation of the book that is stored central a certificate alleged a ‘suitcase’. Usually there are several sizes and weights apery the absolute family. These are acclimated to cede the chantry on your screen. There are aswell several ‘resources’ present in this book that are absolute important. They are all-important for the computer in adjustment to admit the typeface, apperceive breadth it lives and what its name is.

The Printer Font

This book is breadth the outlines of the absolute chantry reside. These are acclimated by the achievement accessory or printer to in fact cede the chantry on your final achievement material: paper, film, laser writer. These are acquisitive assets declared in a cross-platform computer accent alleged ‘PostScript’. These are identical in attributes to the kinds of cartoon altar begin in Aldus Freehand, or Illustrator and are editable in assertive programs.

Fonts for the Web

This allocation is acclimated with permission from Mario Sanchez

Web-Safe Fonts for Your Site

Choosing the adapted book for your website archetype is important, back it will affect the way your readers apperceive your page (serious and formal, or affable and casual). Aside from this, there are aswell important account concerns. For example, some chantry types are added calmly bright than others, and some are added broadly available.

You wish to accept chantry types that:

1. fit the appearance of your site,

2. are simple to apprehend on a computer screen, and

3. are broadly accessible beyond abounding browsers and operating systems.

There are basically two types of fonts: serif and sans serif.

Serif fonts are those that accept accomplished cross-lines at the extremities of the letter. Sans serif (“sans” accepting the French chat for “without”) are fonts that don’t accept serifs. The a lot of accepted serif chantry is apparently Times New Roman. Arial is an archetype of a accepted sans serif font.

Let’s go briefly through the a lot of accepted chantry types and appraise their availability, readibility and character:


Availability: Thoroughly available. It is apparently the a lot of accepted sans serif font. It is the absence chantry for Windows, and it aboriginal alien as a accepted chantry with Windows 3.1.

Readability On Screen: Not the worse but definetely not the best, abnormally at baby sizes, if it becomes too attenuated and the agreement amid characters too small.

Character: Has a streamlined, avant-garde attending but is aswell apparent and boring.

For Mac users, the agnate of Arial is Helvetica.

Times New Roman:

Availability: Thoroughly available. It is apparently the a lot of accepted serif font. It is the absence chantry for web browsers. It was aboriginal alien as a accepted chantry with Windows 3.1

Readability On Screen: Acceptable for chantry sizes of 12pt. and up, but abhorrent for abate sizes.

Character: Serious, academic and old fashioned.

For Mac users, the agnate of Times New Roman is Times.


Availability: A broadly accessible sans serif font, Verdana was aboriginal alien with Internet Explorer adaptation 3, if the exponential advance of the Internet accepted a new chantry that was simple to apprehend on the screen. Readability On Screen: Exceptional. It’s advanced physique makes it the clearest chantry for on-screen reading, even at baby sizes.

Character: Modern, affable and professional.


Avaliability: Good. It is a serif chantry alien by Microsoft with Internet Explorer adaptation 4, if the charge for a serif chantry which abundant bigger readability than Times New Roman became evident. Readibility On Screen: Absolute good. It is the best serif chantry for on-line reading, back it was accurately advised for that purpose.

Character: Modern, affable and professional.

Microsoft has aswell affected two added fonts: Comic Sans Serif and Trebuchet.

Comic Sans Serif was launched with Internet Explorer adaptation 3 and mimics the duke autograph acclimated in comics. It is simple to apprehend and is breezy and friendly, but it is not advised adapted for added serious, able sites.

Trebuchet is addition sans serif font, agnate to Arial but with added character, although it can be difficult to apprehend in baby sizes.

Finally, we can acknowledgment Courier New, a serif chantry that was broadly accepted with old, automated typewriters, and that is now acclimated abandoned to present apish computer cipher (if you charge to present snipets of sample HTML cipher in your web pages, this is the chantry to use.

Therefore, from a account perspective, the bright champ is Verdana. If you are absorbed to use a serif font, Georgia is the best option. Arial charcoal a acceptable advantage for specific locations of text, like account and titles, breadth a altered chantry accept to be acclimated and you can use beyond sizes.