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Fonts 101

November 9, 2009

Choosing fonts for your project can be a bit daunting. You want to make sure you pick fonts that go together, and you don’t want to over burden your page by having too many fonts. So, to help you out, we’re providing Fonts 101: a quick tutorial to help you pick the right fonts for your project.

To get started, you’ll need to know the difference between serif and sans serif fonts.

Serif fonts have finishing strokes on the end of the letter, such as in this font. Examples include Garamond and Times New Roman.

Sans serif fonts do not have finishing strokes on the end of the letter, such as the title of this article. Examples include Arial and Calibri.

Now that you know the difference between serif and sans serif fonts, you’ll understand what we mean when we talk about combining the two.

There are two basic types of text you will apply fonts to. One is the title. The other is the body or copy of your story. To begin, let’s talk about the title.

First off, you may have many different titles to deal with depending on your project. If you are doing a poster or a canvas, you will most likely have one title. If you are doing a storybook, you will have the main title of the book and, possibly, sub titles within the book. Make your title consistent to help keep the flow from page to page.

When designing your title, you will want to pick no more than two fonts. As a bit of advice, we would recommend that you do not choose two serif fonts or two sans serif fonts. Mix it up a little. You can choose a fancy font such as Broadway, then add a serif or sans serif font to the mix. Or you can replace that fancy front with a script font such as Shishoni. Or you can go elegant simple and combine a serif and a sans serif font.

For the copy or main text, you will want to choose a readable font. Choose a simple serif or sans serif font, no fancy fonts or script fonts. Good fonts are Garmond, Times New Roman, Avenir, and Trajan. The goal is to help ease the work of your readers. They don’t want to stare at a long piece of writing, trying to figure out what it says, which is what they will do with a script font. (Save script fonts for titles or small pieces of text).

Now you have it. Go ahead and try new title designs. You’ll be surprised at what great designs you can come up with.