Choosing The Right Font

Everything you put in front of a potential customer leaves them with an impression of your business.  So you want your marketing materials to look professional so customers and prospects have a positive impression of your business.  The best way to do that is to hire a professional designer.  A professional designer will produce a creative and polished piece that will leave customers with the best impression of your business.  But let’s face it, sometimes due to budget or timing reasons we can’t always use a professional designer.   So this article and the ones to follow will give you a few suggestions as to what you can do to make your designs look as professional as possible, if you have the time.

Having been in the printing business for the past 20 years, we at Jiffy Photo and Print have seen all sorts of projects with all sorts of problems.  These articles will sum up the most common problems we see and provide suggestions on how to correct them.  Future articles will discuss, use of colour and more.

This month the topic is Fonts.  Choosing the right font for your business or document can make an impact on your consumer’s interest and engagement. People have feelings & responses when they see certain colors.  Similarly, they have a reaction to typefaces; you can use this information to your marketing advantage.

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed. Typography can make or break the overall effectiveness of your design and message.FF

One of the most important elements of successful typography is the right typeface. The thousands of typefaces available can be pretty overwhelming, here are some ideas you should consider choosing the typeface that is best suited for your brand.

Serif or Sans Serif?

One of the first decisions to be made when selecting a typeface is do you want a serif or sans serif font? Making this decision will help you narrow down your choices considerably.

Serifs are the tiny flourishes found at the end of a letter’s strokes (see the red circles in the graphic).  Serif typefaces have these added bits, and sans-serif typefaces are those “sans [without] serifs” like the image on the right

Serif typefaces (commonly Times and Garamond) are associated with tradition and stability, think about TIME magazine logo. Brands that want to convey prestige, heritage and authority should consider Serif Font.  Serifs are also typically thought improve readability of longer texts however, not all serif fonts are more readable, some of the more ornate fonts can be harder to read so be careful when choosing your serif font.

Popular sans-serif typefaces like Helvetica, look up the Skype and Target logos, are everywhere on the web as they have a more modern feel.  A sans serif font with their near-uniform width of the strokes keeps the font readable when reduced in resolution or reduced in font size.CaddillacSans serif fonts are more legible from farther away, which makes them good for posters and slides, particularly the titles and headers.  Also when selecting a typeface for young children, or someone just learning to read, sans serifs are preferred, as their simple forms are easily recognized.

What about Traditional vs Whimsical?  Typefaces have personality.  Whimsical styles convey playfulness while AAtraditional ones establish a brand as trustworthy or serious.  Some typefaces look like the handwriting and convey elegance and refinement, like Cadillac’s cursive serif.

A traditionally styled font, like American Airlines’ use of Helvetica, will ground your design in a classic and respectable fashion.  Traditional fonts will give your brand credibility and the impression of a trustworthy organization.

The friendly Disney font or the futuristic looking Hulu font gives the impression of a fun or distinct brand.Disney



When designing, you need to make sure your type is connecting to your audience. This is more than just making certain that your copy is well written. It’s also about ensuring that the font you use fits your market.  You wouldn’t use elaborate and rainbow-colored fonts for a law firm brochure, right? That would be better suited for a birthday invitation.

Should you mix fonts?  It can be tricky to mix two or more fonts together well; one of the common mistakes people make is using too many fonts and styles. If you need more than one, make sure to limit your fonts to just two to three typefaces. Use one font and size for the body, another for the titles. Don’t hesitate to choose fonts from different typeface families, as long as there is cohesiveness in the pairing.   Use different fonts to separate different types of information in your document.

Watch out for readability issues when putting fonts on colour backgrounds or on images.  Dark text on a dark background is not easy to read and avoid using a small font over a high-contrast image.   Also in print be careful when using serif fonts on reversed out on dark backgrounds, the fine line in the serifs or letters can appear to choke up and fill with colour making them hard to read.TIME

You can have a striking design, but all your efforts will go to waste if your text is unintelligible


If you have any question regarding bleeds or other printing related topics contact Mark Vermeer at Jiffy Photo and Print, 420 Hazeldean Road in Kanata –  or

We are a full service print company with 20 + years’ experience in the printing industry. We have a full time Graphics Designer on staff to help you with your projects and can handle all of your printing needs from simple copies to books, flyers, sales literature, banners and small signage to trade show displays and much more.

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