What a character: the hidden art of fonts

In the vast universe of communication, an often underestimated but fundamentally important component is the choice of font. These are not mere writing tools; they are silent spokespersons of the message we want to convey.

Throughout history, the evolution of fonts has gone hand in hand with the evolution of communication media. Originally, fonts were designed with “serifs” (the small decorative strokes that finish the ends of letters in some fonts, such as in the case of Garamond or Times New Roman) to imitate calligraphy and improve readability on paper. With the advent of the Internet and the need to ensure readability on low-resolution screens (which struggled to reproduce intricate details), designers turned towards sans-serif fonts, characterized by clean lines and without frills. Today, high-definition screens allow us to freely experiment with a wide variety of typographic styles, without compromising readability, opening a new world of possibilities to express your identity.

The personality of fonts: more than an aesthetic choice

Imagine receiving two business cards. One is from a lawyer, with the information printed in Comic Sans; the other, also from a lawyer, uses the Goudy font. Without knowing anything about their professional skills, whom would you entrust your case to? The right font can be a fundamental element in building trust and professionalism.

What are the most legible fonts?

Generally, we can say that the most legible font is the one we read the most. For example, 80% of Italian printing uses variants of Garamond, making it a comfortable font for a wide audience. On the other hand, the digital era has seen a rise in more linear fonts (sans-serif), like those we read every day on social media, making us increasingly versatile readers. In any case, we can aid the legibility of a text by taking care of other characteristics, using tools such as:

  • line spacing
  • paragraphs
  • boldface
  • italics
  • hierarchies among font sizes
The use of generic fonts: a missed opportunity

Resorting to generic fonts may seem like a safe choice, but is it really a good strategy? Similar to other aspects of visual communication, opting for genericity in fonts means missing the opportunity to stand out. A thoughtful font choice can not only improve the legibility and visual impact of your message but also contribute significantly to the identity and recognition of your brand.

So, how do you choose a font?

The decision on which font to use in your communication projects should never be taken lightly. This choice reflects the voice of your brand and the way you want your message to be perceived. Fonts can evoke emotions, inform, persuade, and entertain; their power goes well beyond the simple presentation of text.

How to match fonts?
There are 3 general principles that can be followed:
1. Pair Serif and Sans serif The goal is always to create a strong contrast to facilitate reading.
2. Create contrast You can play with the weight variants of the same font.
3. Establish a hierarchy This helps the reader’s eye to understand what to read first, second, third…
A guide for you

To help you in matching fonts, I have prepared Font Mixology, a free guide that explains how to best match classic fonts and Google Fonts. It’s very easy to use, a bit like playing battleship. You can download it by clicking below and if you want to let me know how it went, write me!

A font (or typeface) is a complete set of characters, that is, letters, numbers, and symbols that share thickness, width, and style, like “Times New Roman 10 point”.

For simplicity, we will call a “font” or “character” a set of characters designed consistently and according to the same formal principles.

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