Effective branding is a crucial element for the success of any business – large or small. One of the key elements in successful branding is choosing a consequent line for the design of marketing, packaging and promotional materials. The design only works if it really corresponds to the brand itself. A successful design will wrap your business in the most suitable and appealing package for your target market.
While many small business owners are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of design for their branding efforts, fonts are still largely a neglected area in that field. One of the reasons for that is that many business owners simply don’t know enough about fonts to have an opinion about them. Well, we’re about to change this.
There are many basic classifications of fonts. Four of the most common classes of fonts are:
- Serif fonts, which have little "feet," called serifs, at the ends of the lines that make up the letters. Some examples of serif fonts include Times, Palatino, and Garamond. These fonts are more traditional, elegant, and old-fashioned.
- Sans-serif fonts don't have those feet. "Sans serif" means "without serifs." Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, and Helvetica are some of the most common sans-serif fonts. These fonts are more clean and modern.
- Script fonts are calligraphic or cursive fonts. Brush Script and Nuptial Script are two common script fonts.
- Display fonts are decorative and often used for logos or headlines.
There are other types of fonts as well, including handwriting fonts and all-caps fonts. However, the four listed above are the most common and useful in business communications.
Pick a Font that fits the occasion and goes well with your business goals. There are of course a variety of versatile fonts that work with ANY brand, but if you want something a little more unique, you will want to think about what appeals to your audience and look for fonts that align well with your purpose.
When choosing a font that will be displayed online, you’ll also want to make sure it’s easy to read and that it combines well with the other fonts that you’ve chosen. It may help to look at examples of typeface combinations (put together by typography professionals), to gather ideas of which font combinations would fit well with your goals.
Finally, keep in mind that choosing the right font is an art and that many of the font decisions you make are subjective. Choosing the right fonts will simply leave your visitors subconsciously thinking: “Wow, this is a beautiful website!” – without really knowing why.
A font is simply word in typography to describe a particular size, weight and style of a typeface. Each font has a matched set of metal type, one piece (called a "sort") for each glyph, and a typeface comprises a range of fonts that shares an overall design.
In addition to the character height, when using the mechanical sense of the term, there are several characteristics which may distinguish fonts, though they would also depend on the script(s) that the typeface supports. In European alphabetic scripts, i.e. Latin, Cyrillic and Greek, the main such properties are the stroke width, called weight, the style or angle and the character width.
It is vital that businesses adopt a consistent and relevant font on all of their documentation.
- Arm/leg – An upper or lower (horizontal or diagonal) stroke that is attached on one end and free on the other.
- Ascender – The part of a lowercase character (b, d, f, h, k, l, t) that extends above the x-height.
- Bar – The horizontal stroke in characters such as A, H, R, e, and f.
- Bowl – A curved stroke which creates an enclosed space within a character (the space is then called a counter).
- Cap Height – The height of capital letters from the baseline to the top of caps, most accurately measured on a character with a flat bottom (E, H, I, etc.).
- Counter – The partially or fully enclosed space within a character.
- Descender – The part of a character (g, j, p, q, y, and sometimes J) that descends below the baseline.
- Ear – The small stroke that projects from the top of the lowercase g.
- Link – The stroke that connects the top and bottom part (bowl and loop) of a two–story lowercase g.
- Loop – The lower portion of the lowercase g.
- Serif – The projections extending off the main strokes of the characters of serif typefaces. Serifs come in two styles: bracketed and unbracketed. Brackets are the supportive curves which connect the serif to the stroke. Unbracketed serifs are attached sharply, and usually at 90 degree angles.
- Shoulder – The curved stroke of the h, m, n.
- Spine – The main curved stroke of the S.
- Spur – A small projection off a main stroke found on many capital Gs.
- Stem – A straight vertical stroke (or the main straight diagonal stroke in a letter which has no verticals).
- Stress – The direction of thickening in a curved stroke.
- Stroke – A straight or curved line.
- Swash – A fancy flourish replacing a terminal or serif.
- Tail – The descender of a Q or short diagonal stroke of an R.
- Terminal – The end of a stroke not terminated with a serif.
- X-height – The height of lowercase letters, specifically the lowercase x, not including ascenders and descenders.
Readable Fonts to Improve Website Usability
There are many factors that affect the usability of a web site. To make sites noticeable to users, site owners must make use of attractive design and functional content. The usage of fonts is one of the factors that can draw or veer away visitors to a web site. Good fonts are important because it has an effect on how fast users can read whatever content that is present on the computer screen.
Fonts are utilized to make the majority of the web page elements, such as navigation bars, buttons, links, and menus. It is the text that will express most of the web site's content.
At present, the fonts that are commonly used in the Internet are Times New Roman, a serif font, and the Arial, a sans serif font. The primary edge of serif fonts is that it is more comfortable to read it on paper, because serifs help individualize each letter. However, this advantage can be rendered useless when the fonts are viewed on computer screens, since factors such as screen resolution can affect the clarity of texts.
So how do fonts influence the overall usability and legibility of a web site?
There are two major categories of font faces:
- Serif - These are fonts that contain small appendages in the upper and lower part of a letter. Examples are Times New Roman, Century, Bookman and Courier. These are the choice faces to be used for large quantities of text.
- Sans-serif - These fonts have only primary line strokes, and possess a simpler shape. Examples of these fonts are Futura, Helvetica, and Arial. They are usually utilized for short phrases.
Font style pertains to the usage of elements such as italics, underlining, and boldfaces to give better emphasis to the contents of a page. It is not advised to utilize underlining on web pages, since most of the users are used to associate underlinings with links. Boldfaces should be used in a strategic way. Too much usage of boldfaces can be distracting from the content, since they are extremely visible. Since italics are not very legible on the screen, they should be used infrequently, just enough to provide emphasis and definition to terms.
Avoid using absolute font sizes. Doing so may hinder users the ability to adjust the sizes of the text to go along with the specifics of display devices that they are using. It is recommended to let users manipulate the size of the texts, especially if one plans to keep the web pages short.
Choosing font colors should be done with care, it should maximize the legibility of the text in contrast to the background of the page while setting it apart from colors used for links. For light backgrounds, one should used fonts in black, dark green, dark brown, and dark blue. If the background is dark, fonts in white, pale green, and pale orange should be used. If possible, use only one or two font colors in a page, excluding the colors for the link pages.
There are images that look like fonts. Avoid using them. There are several reasons why one should not utilize .jpg or .gif images to acquire special effects. First, images takes a long time to download, and when it appears, the quality is not the same as the text produced by the by browsers. Second, there usually is a problem when resizing images. Third, these images cannot be recognized by voice-enabled browsers.
It is said that Sans serif fonts should be used for standard and top-of-the-line web site designs, specifically the Arial and the Verdana. It is recommended to use the same font throughout a page, but headline sizes can be added and the subheadings can be written in bold form to prevent monotony. Again, it is preferable to give users the ability to control the size of the texts, since some of the users can be visually-challenged.
Some studies show that fonts that are tinier than 10-point gets slower reaction from users. It is advisable to use fonts that are at least 12 or 14-point in size when it comes to people over the age of 65.
The quality of a well-designed web site is that it can be accessed and used by people from all walks of life. Web sites should be designed to suit everyone who will be able to visit them.
The main fonts are:
- Gill Sans
- Franklin Gothic
- OCR A and B
- Avant Garde Gothic
- Letter Gothic
- Cooper Black
- Bell Gothic
- Antique Olive
- Wilhelm Klingspor Gotisch
- Today Sans
- Trade Gothic
- Copperplate Gothic
- Bell Centennial
- News Gothic
- Bernhard Modern
- Industria, Insignia, Arcadia
- Bickham Script
- Bank Gothic
- Corporate ASE
- House Gothic 23
- Mrs Eaves
- Instant Types
- Zapf Renaissance
- Quay Sans
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