Friday, July 9, 2010

Recipe for Font Success


I'm going to change things up here a bit today. Today's post is a recipe for typography success. I don't claim to be an expert typographer, but I've learned a few things about typographical in my experience as a designer and I'd like to share them with you.

Old Script VS. Zapfino

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one out there that absolutely HATES Zapfino. This font should seriously die an awful death. The spacing, ascenders and descenders are ALL messed up. Please do everything you can to avoid this font. Instead, try Old Script, England Hand, CAC Champagne or Chopin Script.


Learning Curve Pro VS. Curlz MT

Curlz MT is another font that has made it's way into way too many invitations. Girl parties, baby showers, I've even seen people set this as their standard email font. PLEASE NO. If you're looking for a girly font and want your classiness intact, try out Learning Curve Pro or Marketing script.


Blokletters VS. Comic Sans

Comic sans could probably die, too; it's over-used and old. Comic sans is an informal font, which I often see in more formal settings. NOT COOL. Stand out from the Comic sans crowd & try Blokletters or Quicksand instead.

Chantilli Antiqua VS. Papyrus

Papyrus is another font I wish would just die. The aesthetic is not my style and it's WAAAY over-used. I started noticing gated communities using this font; like Rustic Estates or Mesa Grande Villas. There's just something so cheesy about this font. Try Chantelli Antiqua or Devroye and keep your street cred intact as a budding designer.

Other tips for success

• NEVER stretch your fonts - keep the aspect ratio intact.
• Don't use novelty fonts for large amounts of text - try to keep those to titles & key words
• Use an easily readable font for large text blocks - serif fonts are king of readability
• Lurk design sites & take cues from the pros - follow the design trends closely & you'll be sure to impress your friends

Additionally . . .

Please don't hate me for my opinion on fonts. I, of all people have been victim of nearly all of these fonts at one point or another.

How do you feel about these fonts? Do you have fonts you use instead?



57 comments:

  1. Definitely helpful. More, more, more typography lessons please!

    ReplyDelete
  2. great advice, and I completely agree with your opinions on font-death sentences!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I disagree with you: I think Comic Sans is horrible and no one should ever use it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't think we're disagreeing. It IS horrible! But in my opinion not AS bad as say Curlz MT.

    ReplyDelete
  5. AMEN!! I totally agree with all of this, haha. I use fonts a lot in my work as a designer and illustrator, and some of my favorites are P22 Corinthia, Bernhart, Lainie Day SH, Occidental, Amelie... and my go-to casual: Century Gothic.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Scriptina is another one that is USED TO DEATH! Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am a designer as well.... and i agree with every font that should die and never be offered on any computer that is purchased.

    ReplyDelete
  8. OH GOSH. Scriptina is like the evil twin to Zapfino. That font is AWFUL!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. It seems that easy or popular fonts often win over appropriate, classy or downright good fonts. Perhaps "kerning" could be the next topic... Look at any sign or ad with the number 1 involved...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Amen to everything you said. I could not agree more even if there are more fonts I'd love to add to your death list.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I guess as a budding stylist, I must make some sacrifices.
    but I love papyrus... *sigh*


    (ps I know NOTHING about fonts and this was rather interesting and important, I think)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I used to hate on Comic Sans all the time and this made me stop (being so much funnier and cooler than I'll ever be) -- oh, not for the delicate of heart and spirit: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/links/monologues/15comicsans.html

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh how I hate comic sans, papyrus, and curlz especially. Yuck. Thanks for the links - I downloaded most of those fonts!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I wholeheartedly agree Melissa! I despise all of those. Does anyone remember Snap ITC? That one was horrible too. I'm so glad it bit the dust!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. love it! More opinions please!

    ReplyDelete
  16. The ones on the death list are the ones I see for vinyl lettering all over the place- make it stop! :) Thanks so much for this!

    ReplyDelete
  17. i laughed out loud {really, i did} when i saw the subtitles flash across the huge movie screen while watching Avatar...ew! papyrus! they didn't have room in the billion dollar budget for a better font???? really?? thanks for this. i'm glad i'm not alone.

    one more to add to the list: Porcelain. I love it, but man is it overused.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Don't like Comic Sans, eh? Try reading this official hate letter to LeBron from the Cav's owner, then, hahaha. My friend pointed out, and I agree, that it's hard to take it seriously when it's typed up in that font. http://www.nba.com/cavaliers/news/gilbert_letter_100708.html

    ReplyDelete
  19. You've picked the worst fonts for sure. I have discussions with non-designer friends about fonts occasionally. I think it's our duty as designers to squash the bad. Here's a link to a funny reference about Comic Sans in the news recently... http://bit.ly/cx9fGY

    ReplyDelete
  20. oh thank you Melissa- let's rid the world (especially the mommy scrapbooker world) of all the horribleness.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Design Everyday,

    When I saw the logo for Avatar I was SHOCKED! Seriously, I was thinking the same thing you were, which is why I can't bring myself to even watch the movie.

    Eduard Recife is a brilliant designer, and I'm really happy to see his fonts gain so much traction, but when I see selfish & porcelain, I can't help but think about some trashy Ed Hardy silk-screened button-up. EW.

    Grunge is O-U-T.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I hear ya! These fonts make me cringe!!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I wholeheartedly agree with your choices! Yuck, yuck, and more yuck. I have a question about downloading free fonts. Are they totally harmless for your computer? I've heard designers talk about major problems after downloading fonts. I've never had a problem...maybe because I use a Mac?

    ReplyDelete
  24. http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/web/07/09/comic.sans.cavs.james/index.html?hpt=C2

    ReplyDelete
  25. AMEN! AMEN!

    oh wow, I used to work at a stationery store for a few years, and we had a font sheet where customers could choose what fonts they might like...
    curlz was ALWAYS a favorite. I gagged every time it was chosen.
    Of course, when designing the invite, I'd almost always attach 3 more options, praying that they wouldn't choose "their" pick.

    gross.

    thank you for addressing these BIG issue. :) Education is KEY to changing the world, one type-face at a time.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hahaha, LOVED this! Wish everyone knew it.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Pecosa.Design,

    I am pretty picky with the sites I download from. I really just stick to fontsquirrel.com. They're an affiliate with myfonts.com and they specialize in free for commercial use fonts. If a font site looks sketchy, I'd avoid downloading. Otherwise, you shouldn't have any problems.

    Hope that helps!

    ReplyDelete
  28. But how can a normal "mommy scrapbooker" tell which fonts are good. I don't want to have to run to "designers" every time I want an opinion on a font. This I get pick, this, not this, but I want more of an actual HOW TO.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I couldn't agree with you more on all the fonts mentioned. Comic Sans makes me shutter when I see it. I actually saw it on a community entrance the other day. (And the entrance sign/monument had recently been done.)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Awesome, awesome post. Couldn't agree more!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Oh my goodness! Some people think I'm a font snob when I see an invitation or letter or vinyl sign with any of those fonts. I'm not a designer of any sort... just a font lover. I just DO NOT get why people think any of those are acceptable. Seriously! They all make me gag a little. Especially curlz.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Totally agree about Curlz, Papyrus and Comic Sans, though I kind of like Zapfino (maybe because I don't remember seeing it before--is that possible?).

    One other font I hate--courier. My husband (a tech guy) loves it though, mostly because it taps into his geeky side).

    ReplyDelete
  33. I heart you. Ridding the world of eye bleed inducing fonts one at a time. But please, please, please add the wretched Brush Script to the offenders list. It makes me want to curl up and die a font snobbish death.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I was just thinking, if I see one more restaurant sign/menu using Papyrus I'm going to SSCCCRREEAAMMM.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Quicksand is my favorite. Thanks for sharing some tips on what works now. I agree, I'd love to know more on the WHY.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Very good post. I can't stand papyrus. ugh! lol

    ReplyDelete
  37. Curlz makes me cringe. My go-to for the bog standard microsoft suite is Century Gothic. I

    ReplyDelete
  38. Wow! Who knew this was such a hot topic :)

    @Paula
    @Chris

    Here's my opinion: These are not my personal favorites either. But I think it's more a matter of relevance and over-use for these typefaces. I don't think any of them are necessarily bad in and of themselves.

    Comic Sans for... comics? Sure, why not. Comic Sans for... an upscale housing community? Not going to work. Same with the other typefaces. They have personalities that should be used in the right context.

    Most of them are pre-loaded on computers so they are used for everything. If looking for a casual, san serif type font, many people will choose the Comic Sans typeface just because it's the only one like that available on their system. Then use it for an entire body of text. These specialty types if used, should be used for relevant applications and sparingly as a spice, not the whole meal.

    In our recipes here on GLCB, we will often call for a San Serif font, Script font, etc. and then link to a free or cheap one we like. However, you could take that idea and use any font you like in that category.

    Also, as @Tom said- Kerning is a must for just about every typeface in a project. That's when you correct the spacing between the letters. Most editing programs allow you to do that in the character panel. Adjusting them so they fit better than the default set up. Even "good" typefaces can look strange if the kerning is off. Don't dismiss a typeface if you can just tweak the kerning a bit.

    There are a lot of great free fonts out there and tons of amazing fonts for purchase. Downloading and installing new fonts is quick and easy. Hopefully through our posts here, more people will be introduced to alternative typeface options.

    Thanks Melissa for the post!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Melissa, this is awesome! I learned so much! It's funny that we were just talking about this the other day:) And thanks for the links. I think I may have downloaded every single one you suggested.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'm new to graphic design and want to start my own stationery business. I don't like a lot of fuss, and I absolutely love simple clean lines and fonts. Thanks for the font recommendations and please do more posts on typography.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hi!! I know your site now... is genial!!
    (my english its no so good...:D)
    Kisses from Spain!!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Love this super helpful post. A link to this post was posted on my blog today! www.ashleeproffittdesign.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  43. I teach yoga, and I've noticed for some reason that yoga teachers seem to be rather fond of the papyrus font. I've also notice cheesy font choices lead to cheesy yoga classes...

    ReplyDelete
  44. haaa i love this- my fav font is american typewriter- classic and timeless

    ReplyDelete
  45. A lot of good information here! Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  46. Awesome post -- thanks for the font suggestions! More, more, more!

    ReplyDelete
  47. YAY Heather! Love your comments. Stomp out FONT HATE.

    ALL fonts are good in some way - it depends on their application. Not all fonts are designed to be used as WORDS either. Some are FanTastiC for initial caps or accents. It is how you use them that makes or breaks them. It is not the FONT's fault when PEOPLE misuse or misapply them...because let's face it most people THINK they are designers when they start playing on their computers. *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
  48. Great 'tips for success'! Following that advice will help many avoid Font Failure.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Thank you! Great post.

    Kristina Gulino
    Something 2 Write About

    ReplyDelete
  50. who the hell cares about font failure - give me a break - i could give a crap what someones font is - geez

    ReplyDelete
  51. Wow @Anonymous. This is all about education. Not about pointing fingers & being rude.

    I still love my mom even though she uses & loves Papyrus & Zapfino. Don't take this so seriously.

    Also, way to be Anon. Good job.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Whoa @Anonymous! I think a lot of us designers and typophiles recognize the elitism we feel about certain typefaces and even poke fun at ourselves for our pickiness. But this is a design forum, so you're going to find a whole lot of people who care about fonts and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Who knows, maybe you'll learn how to discern between professional and unprofessional typeface choices which can possibly make or break a resume. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Aww the memories of Comic Sans! I've used that font during
    the early 90s when I created a personal webpage for my daughter who was at the time not even in Kindergarten. Remember www.geocities.com?

    ReplyDelete
  54. I agree with Sara-with-no-h; cheesy fonts are very telling. Some of my favorites are Steinem, Blue Plate Special, Schmotto, Globus, and MilleniGem. (all from www.urbanfonts.com)

    ReplyDelete
  55. What is your favorite "non-novelty" text? I don't love Times New Roman.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...