Fonts: The Art of Words

(Derived from Michigan Creative in Ann Arbor)

Typography is a powerful tool. When used effectively, the right font commands attention, elicits emotions, and above all, creates a voice. It’s why typography is such an essential component of our brand’s visual identity.

Free Serif Fonts For Print or Web

Georgia:

Georgia Font characters

Times New Roman

Times New Roman font characters

Free Sans Serif Fonts for Print or Web

Arial

Arial font characters

Lucida Grande

Lucida Grande

How to Select a Typeface

LEGIBILITY

Legibility refers to the design of the typeface — the width of the strokes, whether or not it has serifs, the presence of novel type design elements, etc. It is easy to tell one letterform from another in a legible typeface. 

  • Choose typefaces with conventional letterforms
  • Choose typefaces with generous spacing
  • Choose typefaces with a tall x-height
READABILITY

How your typeface is set, combined with the basic legibility of the typeface, yields a certain level of readability. In most cases, communication comes before style—form follows function—so resolve readability first.

CHOOSE TYPEFACES DESIGNED FOR YOUR PURPOSE

Align text to “right ragged” for comfortable word spacing online to avoid “rivers.” Make sure the leading (the amount of space between lines of text) is greater than the point size of your typeface

SUITABILITY

Consider the design intent of the typeface. If a typeface was designed for signage, it probably isn’t going to work well set as the body copy of a book. For example, Bodoni Poster may work for certain headlines, but it was not designed to be used in paragraph form.

A FEW TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS

If your design is going to include a lot of numbers or ligatures, be sure to choose a typeface that has those things. It’s best to choose a typeface that is as complete as possible. Free fonts often don’t include these critical “extras.”

AVOID TRITE CORRELATIONS
  • Don’t use Papyrus just because your topic is “ancient” in some way (Better yet, don’t use Papyrus at all)
  • Don’t use Comic Sans just because your topic is humorous (Better yet, don’t use Comic Sans at all)
  • Don’t use Lithos just because your topic is about Greek restaurants
  • Don’t use Futura just because your topic deals with “the future”