How to Use Fonts - 4 Tips for Choosing and Using Simple Typography

Written by SuperUser Account on 3/12/2015
How to Use Fonts - 4 Tips for Choosing and Using Simple Typography

With thousands of fonts on the market to choose from, it can be hard to determine which one works best for you. Picking the right typefaces takes a good bit of knowledge, some amount of skill, luck and time. After you've settled on a font, you still need to know what to do with it. How do you use your typefaces effectively? There are four factors that I've put together to help beginners make the right decisions.

Make it Legible

People tend to put a lot of weight on the uniqueness of a typeface. When building a brand, you do want something that stands out; but what good does it do you if no one can tell you what it says? Use fancy and script fonts sparingly so that you don't lose too much in translation. Reading a complex font is like reading a foreign language; most people aren't going to spend too much time trying to figure it out.

Partner Up

Fonts work better as a team. You should definitely be using fonts with variations in cuts (Condensed, Italic, etc) and/or weights (Regular, Bold, etc). Heavy, bold headers stand out and draw attention to articles, but you wouldn't block an entire paragraph out in Extrabold. It's also not a bad idea to pick from two font families that work well together; but don't muddle the waters by using a different font for each paragraph. Choosing one for headers and another for body copy is generally a good enough blend.


Going back to using different type weights, a good sense of hierarchy can help make an article of text easier to read. Bold headers draw in attention and sub-headings (like in this article) help to divide the content. Make sure your headers are actually headers and are big and on top of the page; not hidden or blended with the rest of the content.

Breathing Space

Many people don't know what leading and tracking is and how it affects typography. Tracking is the space between letters in a word. Set too closely and words are illegible; too far apart and they just look awkward. Leading also refers to spacing, but the spacing between lines of text (think about every time you hit the edge of the page in Word how far apart the next line of text starts from the previous). Adding a little padding to this space can help break up text to bring in white space, making body copy a little easier to digest.

About the Author
SuperUser Account