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Creative Design: Elements of the Best Marketing Design Fonts

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Think of your favorite book, the latest copy of the newspaper, a text message on your phone, or even a tweet you’ve read online. What do these all have in common? They’re displayed to you in a collective group of stylistically similar characters, aka fonts. Font choice is an important decision in your marketing materials design process. Fonts create emotion, draw attention, and express elements of your brand personality. When it comes to your marketing, think of fonts as your business’s handwriting. 

Fonts, like handwriting, come in all shapes and sizes; some are darker or lighter, more curved or straight, and some more legible than others. Three basic differentiators of fonts include weight, style, and width.

Font Weight

Font weight indicates the thickness of  design fonts. The number of choices varies from font to font, but typically options include normal/regular, bold, bolder, and lighter, while some fonts can contain up to 15 variations!

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When deciding on the best font weight for your marketing materials, consider using different weights in your text to bring attention to specific words or phrases. The human eye is often drawn to things that break from pattern. For example, look at the following sentence: 

            The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Did any of the words ‘jump’ out at you? In this sentence, your attention is drawn to the bolded word “jumps.” 

The example sentence is written in the same font, yet the use of different weights can make the font appear differently and draws more attention to different words in the sentence.

Font Style 

Font style indicates variations of design fonts. The three most common are roman style, oblique style, and italic style.

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In Roman style fonts, letters and characters stand straight upright without a slant. In oblique style fonts, letters and characters are slanted to the right-hand side. Italic style fonts, like oblique fonts, contain slanted letters and characters; however, certain characters contain stylistic, changes from the Roman style, such as the letters ‘a’ and ‘g.’ For example, take a look at the difference between the Roman and Italic styles of Times New Roman:

  • Roman: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
  • Italic: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

At first glance, you might not notice, but the lower case ‘a’ changes between the two styles. This demonstrates the main difference between oblique and italic fonts: Oblique fonts contain no stylistic changes, while in certain fonts, italics may change the appearance of certain characters and letters. Now compare the Roman and Oblique styles of the font, Andale Mono:

  • Roman: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
  • Oblique: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. 

If you look closely, you can see that both fonts are stylistically the same. The only difference is that the oblique font is slanted

In almost all cases, your text will be written in roman style design fonts. Italic style fonts aren’t used as much stylistically, but rather, they are used grammatically for titles of stand-alone artistic works, such as The New York Times or The Beatles’ album, Abbey Road.

RELATED: Creative Design: Get an Expert Grip on Design Basics

Font Width 

Font width indicates the width of individual characters and letters. Options range from narrow—condensed and extra condensed or compressed fonts—to wide, known as extended fonts.

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The width of your font can be used stylistically and visually in several ways. Take a look at the variations of the font Skia in the picture above.

Aside from bolded and light, the differences between the font variations are very noticeable. Let’s consider the legibility of each font width. All of the variations of Skia shown are at the same font size, yet it is clear to see that the condensed versions are much more tightly placed than the extended. 

 When trying out condensed or extended fonts, consider the font size. Smaller font sizes can make condensed fonts harder to read for certain design fonts. On the other hand, larger font sizes combined with extended fonts can also make text less legible and harder to read. The increase in width and font size also take up a larger space on the page.

When choosing the best font for your marketing materials, finding a balance of aesthetic and your brand is key. What’s the best practice in finding the right font? Play around and experiment. Test out different font weights, styles, and widths to find the most legible and visually appealing combinations that will grab your customers’ attention and stay true to your brand.