Typography and design: How to match and properly use fonts

Written by:
Carolina Marquez


Using a variety of fonts is an interesting concept often used by designers.  We’re speaking about general design: web, on paper / print, advertising, etc.

However there is a thin line between what is considered tight and attractive, and what could be considered a typographic chaos.

When designing graphics that utilize content, you need to be aware of this balance.

The first things we’ll need to ask yourself before choosing the right typography are:

a. What value does the typography or typographies bring to the overall design.

b. What effect could it have over the visual, legibility and accessibility of the design.

There’s no use of including several different typographies if they make the message unclear and hard to read.

After asking (and answering) these questions, follow these simple golden rules for  typography:

 1. Limit the indiscriminate use of typographies.

On several occasions, we find yourself with designs that are trying to reach an attractive look, but end up turning into a font carnival.

As a general rule, we need to use as few fonts as possible to transmit our message in an accurate manner. If your design works with just two fonts, then simply avoid using additional fonts and styles.   The key to clean design is minimalism.

You can also practice with extra resources: bold, thin and condensed fonts from the same family. But it’s important you try to avoid the underlining too often, it's an old resource inherited from writing machines.  Try utilizing bold style when you want to strengthen part of a message such as below.


2. Avoid the overuse of uppercase.

As a general rule, it’s not recommended to use uppercase when is not grammatically correct to do so. There are other resources, more visually appealing, which could help you with this.

Sometimes designers use too many uppercases to mark a word or phrase. This is not advised; you can find more creative ways to highlight what you want highlighted, such as bold text, slightly larger size, or different colors.


3. Check your spacing.

A good typographic design has two main items in consideration: the tracking and the spacing.

The tracking refers to the space between characters in a word and the spacing to the space between lines in a paragraph.

Always try to keep a good balance between both.  This will help to make your design look good and professional; and last but not least easy on the eye (and thus easier to read)

As a rule always start with the regular tracking and space offered by your text editor's default settings and apply little variations until you get the effect you're after. If you go overboard,, you risk deeply affecting the readability of the text.


4. Think about your audience.

Your font should be aligned with your target audience. If you are designing for a young audience, probably the font selection, colors and elements are not going to be the same as they would be for a senior audience.

Remember your overall design needs to have a tone, look and feel, all of those aspects are important to connect with your audience.

Typography is a very important part of our creative efforts. And it takes some time to master it.  So don’t worry if you don’t get it right on the first round.  Keep working until you do, it pays off!


What do you think? Do you have any other tips on this subject? Share them with us.

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About the Author

Caro is a internet marketer, blogger and a design enthusiast. She joined the Visme.co team on 2014, and she's been working with the tool ever since! She likes to share tips and tricks to make design and marketing easy and reachable for anyone!

8 responses to “Typography and design: How to match and properly use fonts”

  1. […] How to properly use fonts in design: Learn the effective use of typography to achieve a balance between clean design and improve the stickiness of your content  […]

  2. Lynn Brown says:

    If you’re educating blog users about typography, why don’t you use the conventional terms for the field, such as point size, word spacing, serifs, kerning, and line spacing? Such terms, although developed in the days of hot metal type and letterpress, are more precise than those in the blog.

    • Amy Soldier says:

      This was a primer. For one to get their feet wet were one so inclined to consider the suggestions relevant to their personal moment in the design of their website. Caro perhaps should have used your thoughts as the final paragraph to this post.

  3. D Leith says:

    Correct spelling and grammar is also important…..under point 3 “….effect your after…” should be “…effect you’re after…”

  4. Patricia M says:

    I found this article to be informative, and look forward to utilizing the tips I learned from it. Thanks!

  5. There’s certainly a lot to learn about this topic. I like all the points
    you’ve made.

  6. These are genuinely great ideas in regarding blogging.

    You have touched some nice factors here. Any way keep up wrinting.

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