7 Typographic Resources, and 1 Type Joke

Ready to get your marketing pieces set up?

The first place to start is your fonts, because your font choice tells a lot about your business and what it stands for. Marketing guru Seth Godin talks about it here.

Before you decide what you want the font to say, let’s review the two main font categories.

Serif Fonts: Classic, Timeless, Easy to Read

Serif font exampleSerif fonts have little “feet” at the bottoms of the letters. You probably have Georgia and Times Roman on your computer, and those are both serif fonts. They are classic, timeless and make your business look established.

Serif fonts are good for long blocks of text, too, which is why most books and magazines are set in them.

Sans Serif Fonts: Streamlined, Modern, Contemporary

Sans serif font exampleSans means “without,” so sans serif fonts are “without” the little feet that serif fonts have. You probably have Arial and Verdana on your computer, and they are both sans serif fonts.

Sans serif fonts are streamlined, modern and contemporary and make your business look cutting-edge and modern. They’re good for instructions, or any time clarity is important. Sans serif fonts look great on the web, and many sites use them as text fonts.

To make your job easier, I recommend you use no more than two fonts. Pick full “families,” with regular, italic, semi-bold and bold weights. That will give you lots of options for headlines, subheads and captions.

For maximum versatility, pick a serif and a sans serif font that work well together. This can be tricky to get just right. Here’s one way to do it:

Use Your “AGE”

font-combine

To combine a serif and sans serif font, look for similar letter forms. The best letters to try to match up are lower case “a,” “g,” and “e.” Let’s take a look:

See the font sample above? Notice the shape of the letter “a.” Now look at the “g” and “e.”

Which example below best matches the font above? font-combine-option-a-b

The lower case “a,” “g,” and “e” in example a are the best match. The letter forms are similar. These two fonts will combine well without clashing.

Don’t Stress If They’re Not Exact Matches

If you have trouble finding fonts that are exact matches, look for similar shapes in as many letters as you can find. Similar “x-heights” are also important: see this post for more on x-height.

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In Search of Typography Resources

It’s easy to find fonts on the web at low or no cost. Be careful, though: many are low quality, and will make your business look unprofessional.

A quality, full-family font that represents your business is a great investment, and since font technology doesn’t evolve as quickly as software, your font should still be as usable in 20 years as it is today. Fonts.com and Myfonts.com are two good resources where you can invest in fonts to represent your business.

For no-cost fonts, try these links. Remember, go for quality, readability, and a full family of weights if possible:

fontsquirrel.com | dafont.com | urbanfonts.com

These two links from Smashing magazine feature beautiful no-cost fonts:

Smashing magazine 40 fonts | Smashing magazine 15 fonts

And just for fun, a font joke. This site from Pentagram, a top-notch design studio, purports to help you figure out your “type.” Type in your name and use the password “character” to access the site: What type are you?