Choosing a font for your print projects is no easy feat. The right choice ensures that your message is well-received. A poor font choice could obscure your message, create confusion, or fail to make your print pieces live up to their potential.
There’s a major difference between what you see on your computer screen and what actually comes out on paper. Unfortunately, companies all too often learn this lesson the hard way – after they’ve paid big bucks for a print job and thousands of copies have already been created.
There’s even a whole Reddit thread dedicated to poor font selections and how they completely transform the intended message.
Use this guide when choosing the best fonts for printing so your project doesn’t end up sending the wrong impression:
4 Considerations When Choosing Fonts
Finding the best fonts for printing depends on a variety of factors, but none are as complicated as the fact that there is no single best font to fit all brands, audiences, and projects. Choosing fonts is a complex process where you must consider all of these things AND consider how your chosen font will look once it’s printed.
In short, your fonts must offer the “total package” if you want your printed materials to be effective. If your audience can’t read your message, your projects can’t do the job for which they were designed.
Consider the following factors when exploring your font options.
You need to select a font that offers easy readability, but it should also command attention and support your brand. Too often, companies choose fonts for logos or websites based on brand alone and forget to consider how that font will look on printed marketing materials.
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Ideally, you should consider how a font prints before selecting one for your logo or other branding elements. Since you’ll be placing your logo on just about everything your company prints, it’s essential to make strong font choices from the beginning to avoid issues later.
The size of your font has a lot to do with how your message is received. Width, height, and kerning of letters can vary between font styles, even if you set them each to a specific point or weight.
Fonts have continued to evolve through the ages, including the way we write letters by hand. For example, younger audiences may struggle to read elaborate cursive fonts because cursive writing has largely gone the way of the buffalo in classrooms.
Plain, simple lettering offer mass appeal because they’re easy to read. Older generations are more likely to appreciate serif-style fonts because they resemble a classic typeface.
If your audience is mostly Millennials and Gen Z’ers, you can probably get away with a creative or artistic font. Younger generations are more accustomed to seeing artsy lettering, especially in today’s era of handwritten and chalkboard-style fonts. They may also be more in tune with sans serif fonts or a blend of both, thanks to current design trends.
Type of Print Project
Consider what types of projects you’re printing and where they will be seen. Business cards and postcards are short on real estate space, which means your font will need to be clear and concise. Larger projects like magazines, billboards, and posters give you a chance to make your letters larger, which can also make them easier to read.
Best Fonts for Printing
It’s not a matter of what’s trending in font design. The best fonts for printing are the ones that contribute to your design without sacrificing readability. There are a few fonts that professional designers swear by because of their versatility across media.
Stick to these fonts and general guidelines for your printing projects:
- Helvetica is known for its clean lines and is easy on the eyes
- Verdana is a commonly used font that offers the right contrast of letter size and white space
- Century Gothic is a free font that is easily read from a distance
- Serif fonts are ideal for body text because they offer more white space between letters and make each letter look more distinct
- If you want a high contrast font, make sure it’s used sparingly to avoid reader fatigue
- Outline fonts are ideal for headlines and subheads because of their emboldened appearance
- Nostalgic or vintage fonts are making a comeback in a major way. These fonts work for print because that’s exactly what they were designed for!
- Bold fonts are easy to read and add a touch of drama or excitement to your message
Worst Fonts for Printing
There are several variables that make a font bad, whether it’s for printing or marketing in general. Fonts that are overused, cutesy, or desperate to look creative can give your business an unprofessional appearance and distract from your core message.
As a general rule, you should try to avoid these fonts in your print jobs:
- Comic Sans, which has been deemed too juvenile or unprofessional by designers
- Papyrus, which is too complicated to embellish with foil or embossing
- Fonts that are cramped or leave little white space in between letters (ex. Segoe Script, Impact)
- Fonts that leave too much white space between letters
- Fonts that have two or more letters that look similar to each other
- Elaborate cursive fonts that take too long to decipher (ex. Vivaldi)
- Fonts that you could look at and immediately name from Microsoft Word (ex. Curlz, Bradley Hand)
Consult with Our Design Team to Find Your Perfect Fonts
Before you send your projects through the printer, it’s in your best interest to print a sample copy to see how your letters look on the final version. You might find that some fonts appear cramped or blurred on paper, even if they didn’t appear so on your computer screen.
Our in-house design team will be happy to consult with you on your print projects before they go to press to ensure the best possible outcome. Schedule a consultation today and let us help you make your project the best it can be.