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Decoding Fonts: Choosing and Using Typography in Design

1 November 2018
Hadas Gil

The term "font" refers to the graphic design style of letters in each language and is categorized into two families: serif fonts and sans-serif fonts (sans-serif in French = without tag). Each decorative "sharp tip" on the font is a tag, transforming the font into a serif font. Serif fonts are the traditional print fonts we have been familiar with for many years, while sans-serif fonts are relatively modern and suitable for use on websites.

the letter T

Matching a font to a message

The selection of font type and its associated meanings plays a significant role in various industries, including knowledge management. This field extensively addresses how information is presented for accessibility, ensuring it is available, clear, and experiential. Choosing the right font for your customer/business is crucial to this accessibility. Opting for one font over another can convey a specific message and significantly influence the final appearance and user experience.

diffrent fonts


Hence, when selecting a font, consider the following questions:

  1. What is the purpose of writing? Is the font intended for business communication, an invitation to a personal event like your son's bar mitzvah, or scientific writing? For instance, a rounded handwriting font is often perceived as "soft," making it suitable for personal messages or creating a particular image. Conversely, a square font conveys a businesslike message, suggesting seriousness and reliability.

  2. How much text? Some fonts are highly readable, while others are designed primarily for aesthetic purposes and may not be suitable for extended blocks of text. For longer texts with more than two paragraphs, opting for a relatively simple, solid, and easy-to-read font is advisable. This ensures that the letters remain distinct from each other and are well-separated within sentences.

Utilize unique fonts judiciously. While you may desire to use a "crazy" font, exercise restraint and employ it with taste, perhaps limited to the title. Although a unique font can enhance the design, excessively unusual shapes can have a negative impact. The more different a font is from the norm, the more challenging it becomes to read.

Vary font sizes to emphasize content levels. Font size carries weight concerning text importance. Enlarge the font for emphasis and reduce it to de-emphasize. For example:

  • Title: The main title's font should be prominent, with a size of 30px and thin or 15px in bold.

  • Subtitle: The subtitle, as the second priority, should stand out less in thickness, size, or location.

  • Running text: Choose a readable, clear, flowing font for longer texts. Serif fonts are still preferred for publications with extensive text, such as books and newspapers.

Selecting a font suitable for people with disabilities is crucial for design and accessibility. This is particularly relevant for visually impaired and blind individuals, as well as those with learning and reading disabilities. When choosing such a font, ensure:

  1. The font size remains above 12 points.

  2. The letters are not excessively italicized or narrow.

  3. The spacing between letters allows comfortable and continuous reading, preventing them from connecting.

Most font families are not recommended for accessibility, except for straight-formatted (sans-serif) fonts. Despite their aesthetic appeal at larger sizes, Serif fonts become challenging to read when smaller. In English, the preferred font for people with disabilities is Verdana, a commonly accepted choice.

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