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From the Design Desk: Finding the Right Fonts

It’s no secret how much I love fonts, especially well-designed script and hand-drawn fonts.  I will find excuses to use them in our own internal branding as often as I am able.  When it comes to trying to find the right font for our customers, I am like the Goldilocks of font choices.  “This one’s too tall, that one’s too casual, but this one is just right.”
Trying to find the perfect font for a project is a bit like being Goldilocks and Cinderella at the same time.  It’s not enough just to find the shoe that fits – it has to be the right style, the right color or weight, with the right size heel, not too high of an arch, etc.
When I start looking for fonts, there are a couple of criteria I go through in my head to help me identify the right place to start, so I thought I’d share them here with you:
1. Classification & Style – Classification is the technical category – is it sans serif, serif or script?  Style is the descriptive qualifier that helps to narrow the selection.  An elegant script is vastly different to a casual or grunge script, though by definition they fit the same category.  Decide which aspect is the most important and work from there.

From the Design Desk: Finding the Right Fonts-1

2. Letterforms – When I’m looking through pages and pages of sans-serifs on a font foundry site, I’m looking at a handful of letters for differences – upper and lowercase A’s, G’s, W’s and M’s, in particular.  It’s amazing how different those four letters can be – take a look at the image to the right to see what I mean.  There are some fonts that I would use a lot more often – except for a handful of letters (I’m looking at you, Goudy Sans and your weird capital “A”).  I do the same thing for other classifications, using different letters.

From the Design Desk: Finding the Right Fonts-2

3. Width & Weight – From the example above, you can see that even those are all set at the same point size, the width of the letters varies greatly from font to font.  Some fonts will have different weights and widths to give you maximum flexibility.  Some fonts also have special Oblique or Italic versions which can vastly change some of the letters.
Of course, all the examples I’ve shown here are fairly standard fonts – but these rules apply just as well when you’re looking for something more unique and funky.  There are a plethora of fonts out there available for you to purchase or download, so if you’re still not finding exactly what you need – keep at it.  The perfect font is out there, like the right shoe or bowl of porridge, waiting for you!
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