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A Basic Guide to Fonts in Graphic Design

What to Do and What Not to Do

Having worked with graphic design in a freelance capacity for some time now, I can assure you that it is not rocket science. However, that in no way means there is not a specific and technique involved. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate three main concepts when it comes to the use of text in the field of graphic design.

To keep it simple, let's call these Concepts the 3 B's.

B Number One - Big

You want to get the attention of a reader, something to draw them in. That's where this element comes in to play. There should be some part of your piece, typically a captivating or intriguing word or phrase, printed in a large font so as to jump out right away.

B Number Two - Bold

Now that you know how critical it is to make part of your text large, you need to realize that large type on its own doesn't always stand out. That's where bolding your word or phrase can be critical.

B Number Three - Boring

Now that we have the big and the bold covered, you may be wondering what the boring is all about. You're probably wondering why anyone would make text boring. Boring is a term that's the simplest to keep with the B's theme and allow for something that is easy to remember. A more accurate description would be the term "simple.:

The point is, you want your font to be readable. No matter how big you make your text or how bold it is on the page, it's basically useless if the person looking at it has a difficult time trying to decipher what it means. That's why keeping your font rather simple by using something like Ariel or Georgia as opposed to something fancier may make all the difference in how effective your design will be.

In addition to keeping things simple using the 3 B's, there are several other factors you have to consider when working with the font of your choice.

You have to take into consideration the total number of fonts you want to use in a piece that you put out there for public consumption. Generally speaking, the more font variation you choose to use in terms of the font itself and the size, the more confusing and visually unappealing it will turn out. Based on personal experience and my education in this area, the total number of fonts and size variations used in one piece should be no more than three or an absolute maximum of four.

The last thing I am going to discuss is the use of color when it comes to your font.

First of all, if there is a specific color that may match well with your text, you may very well want to use it. For example, if perhaps your piece is based on a Halloween theme, you may want to try to use orange.

However, before you finalize the color choice for your text, you need to consider the material on which it will be printed. Say your theme is Christmas and you decide to use a green font. That color is basically out as an option for the paper or material used for printing. Keep in mind that unless you include some sort of outline or white background behind the text, if you choose any dark color, that will limit your options of printing materials. The opposite is the case if you choose a light color for your font.

If you follow these tips and try to make an intentional decision regarding font style size and the like, you will have a much better chance of succeeding in the field of graphic design.

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A Basic Guide to Fonts in Graphic Design
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