When choosing a font, you might think picking the prettiest looking is the best choice. Nope, that is not always the case. Typography is a huge territory. Before I dive into details, let us first define the word font. What is a font? A font is the style (bold, italic), size, typeface (Calibri, Garamond, Arial, etc.) of the words you type. When we think of font, we usually mean the typeface. Choosing a font is like choosing your outfit. You pick a dress depending on the occasion. Same is true with fonts. You do not use fancy fonts on your resume. You use those on birthday invitations. This guide will help you on the different types of fonts, the things to consider in choosing a font, and the places to get FREE fonts for commercial use.
Basically, there are four classifications of fonts: Serif, Sans Serif, Script, and Decorative. The Serifs are the ones with edges. The most popular example of this is Times New Roman. Sans Serifs are the opposite of Serif. They have no extra lines on the edges. Trebuchet, Century Gothic, and Comic Sans are just a few examples of it. (This article uses Sans Serif!) Scripts are the cursive style or the handwriting style. Refer to typefaces like French Script, Monotype Corsiva, and Bradley Hand. Lastly, the decorative ones are the beautifying fonts. They are usually used for special purpose like the typefaces Jokermann, and Curlz MT.
Now you know the various classifications, let us discuss the importance of choosing the right fonts. Fonts set the tone and mood of your text. Imagine the full text of the Bill of Rights printed in script style and in size 12. No one would ever want to read that. No one would take it seriously. Viewers will just close the page and find another website that offers the same content. If your websites’ tone is formal, you better not choose anything cursive. Stick to Serifs. If your website is about a hobby like drawing or reading, you can choose playful styles or the handwriting styles.
You also have to consider the readability of the font. Consider if your preference makes it easy for viewers to read your content. Look at the size, color, spacing. Legibility, on the other hand, is the ability for the viewers to distinguish the different letters and numbers. In some fonts, number 1 can be mistaken as lowercase l. These things can confuse readers so make sure your font is both readable and legible.
It is important to know the purpose your material. If you are making a business card, you need a font that is readable despite the small size. If you are sending an online invitation, make sure the font is readable on screen. Take into consideration your audience, too. Older people tend to prefer bigger fonts. If you think your target audience are adults 40 and up, then, you might want to consider thicker fonts. You can always experiment which fonts work, but at the end of the day, make sure it represents your brand.
For the FREE fonts, the first website to check is Font Squirrel. You do not have to refine your search on what is available for commercial use because they are all 100% free commercial fonts. Next on the list is DaFont. This website offers selected commercial fonts. Make sure to check the free option when searching. They have a wide selection of fonts and they are not the common ones you see. If you are looking for a font for your Christmas card, look no further. The third option is Google Fonts. Who would have thought Google would give tons of free fonts? Yes, they are all open source so you are welcome to modify and use them commercially. The downside is you will not get anything unique. If you are looking for decorative fonts, check the previous two.
There you have it! After you have applied the guide, test your fonts by conducting a survey on your website. You can also have some beta testers browse your website and ask for their feedback.