In today’s marketing world, nothing is hotter than content marketing. Traditional mass media advertising is on the way out, and marketers have to target specific audiences and provide engaging content that attracts the right kind of customers. Marketers today must build a body of compelling and valuable content if they hope to succeed. However, despite all of this work on great content, something important is still frequently overlooked.
The Right Font Is Not an Afterthought
Design is still important. After all, if you aren’t able to get people’s attention with your great content, it will be all for nothing. It’s easy to sometimes forget this principle when so much of our focus is on the content itself. So we must put time and thought into aesthetics just as much as copy. Good design, in general, and fonts specifically can make or break the appeal of your offering.
One of the most important elements of this is choosing the best font for your project. The fonts will set the tone. Tracking, kerning, letter-spacing, size, and family are all important typographical details. There’s a lot to think about, but the rewards are worth it.
To Serif or Not to Serif
The most basic concern is that the text be legible. If the font interferes with the reader’s ability to understand the text, you’ll lose their attention. Not to get too technical, but some fonts are what is called serif and some are sans serif. Serifs are little “feet” that adorn the letters for a decorative effect. Serif fonts have these feet and sans serif fonts do not. Open a word processor and look at the Times New Roman font, and then try the Verdana font. After careful inspection, it should be obvious that Times New Roman is a serif font.
Why is this so important? Serif fonts are used for most print media. Sans Serif fonts are often reserved for headlines and titles. But for text that is meant to be viewed on a screen this does not work. Even with high-resolution monitors, the serifs interfere with the legibility of the text. The number of pixels on the monitor makes it difficult to get a clear image of the letter. It is just easier to read a sans serif font like Calibri or Gothic when using a screen.
Arial Is the Vanilla of Fonts
Different fonts communicate different emotions and feelings. The Arial font is very basic and crisp. It’s kind of like the vanilla of fonts. It is kind of plain, but sometimes it’s just the thing to top off a warm piece of pie. It’s a good font for the body text of your piece where you want your meaning to come across clearly.
Other fonts are great for titles and headlines. Still others are good for text on banner ads, memes, infographics and other images. For example, corporate brands that are more high-end, classy and luxurious will find that the Ambassador Plus font is excellent for creating this effect. The Chelsea Market font conveys a more playful and youthful tone. Some experimentation is necessary to get an idea of the fonts that might best capture the personality of your brand.
Less Is More
Establish a clear design hierarchy for the document. Chose one font for headlines and another the body. If necessary, choose a third font for special accents in your document. This creates consistency for your document. Too many fonts will confuse the message.
There are also font families. A family is a grouping of different fonts that have similar design features. These families include:
- Geometric: clear, crisp and modern.
- Humanist: these are more personal and resemble handwriting.
- Old Style: classic and traditional.
- Transitional: combine elements of older type styles with more modern features.
- Modern: High contrast with thick and thin elements.
- Slab Serif: Create a trendy and urban look.
To be consistent, pick only one font from each family. Use two fonts from different families that compliment each other when designing a document.
Imitation Is the Highest Praise
Be on the lookout for interesting fonts when browsing online. Find companies that are attracting a similar audience and whose brands have a similar feel. See what fonts they are using in their marketing materials. Experiment with unique and interesting ways to incorporate those fonts.
With so much work going into developing great content, putting the effort into choosing the best font to express this content seems like a natural next step. By using some simple design concepts, you can much more effectively capture a reader’s attention.
Senior Faculty: Interior Architecture Design
IVS School Of Design