Learn about some of the basic concepts related to selecting typefaces.
- So how do you go about choosing the typefaces to go with your project? You're going to need to think about the subject matter itself, the audience, and also the medium. You'll find everything has its own typographic voice as well as some expectations from an audience, although that doesn't mean you can't challenge those expectations. Let's take a look at just a few examples. So if we were doing a poster for Popoff The Clown, this probably wouldn't be the best type to use.
In fact, it looks like it's been done by his mom in Microsoft Word and it's like given up already. This one, at first, you might think, "No, that's not appropriate either." But again, it depends on the subject and the audience. What if Popoff The Clown is one of those alternate comedians at a comedy festival? In which case, something like this may well be appropriate. Something like this is probably going to be a better fit if the audience is going to be the typical audience of clowns.
This uses a typeface but it's been modified to look slightly hand drawn and also an attempt to kind of invoking the character without actually having the character present by putting the counter of the p in red to simulate a red clown's nose. Let's look at a few more. So this is Jeff Vader, my accountant. It's not really, it's just a picture of an accountant. But, do you think the typeface that's being used here would be appropriate for such a person? Probably not really because accountants deal with very, very serious things and you don't want to feel like you're putting your finances in the hands of a circus.
Equally, an attempt at being modern like this wouldn't work either. It's just way too whimsical. What would probably be more appropriate, and I say probably, because I'm not going to make the choice for you. This is something you will need to decide on yourself, how you do it. But something light and modern like so, with a bit of a slant maybe gives the impression that they're efficient and businesslike. Jeff, by the way, did want me to show you what a fun character he was by having this fun version of it.
It's not fun really (laughs) at all. But this is another example here where there's some variation and the variation is created by two different weights of type. Contrast is an interesting thing when bringing in type. If you're working on a publication, a printed publication, then a serif-based typeface for the body copy, which will be your main concern in everything apart from magazines where you can pretty much go for broke most of the time because they're effectively like posters as a double-page spread.
But you're going to need something that has a good color. Now that's got nothing to do with chroma, but if you squint at it you'll see it presents here a nice, subtle grayness going down the page and there is some variation inside there, it's a really nice color. And, of course, the addition of other whites in there would work. Then you could choose something that contrasted with that typeface, such as a sans serif heading, for example. If you were doing something on a web page, then you might need to consider, first of all, larger type because they're typically presented around about three to six points larger on web pages than they are in print.
So something sans serif here and possibly, a serif or a slab serif heading for typical body text would work quite well. And it would sit and give again a nice color in the page. How you chose things, of course, is entirely up to you. But one of the things you're looking for is contrast and there's a very simple rule here. You want things that have differences. They don't have to be a sans serif and a serif, although that is a great combination, there can be differences in weight that would work as well.
The simple rule to bear in mind is if you're going to have differences, go big or go home. Don't make wimpy decisions on things because they look too similar, then it won't work at all. But combinations, entirely subjective, you need to bear in mind who's watching it, what their expectation is, whether you're challenging it, and also the medium it's presented in.
- The creative process
- Layout and composition
- Transforming images and assets in Photoshop
- Drawing logos in Illustrator
- Designing graphics and documents in InDesign