5 Tips for working with type and fonts to make your brand look professional

Most small business owners find themselves creating their own social media posts, proposals, sales presentations, reports and more. If you don’t have the time or the money to have a designer create everything, here are a few tips to choose fonts and style your type so your materials look professional.

1-Limit the number of fonts 

That long list of typefaces that comes up when you go to choose a font can be mesmerizing. However, stick to one or two only. You can still use the bold and italics within each typeface. A few combinations that are tried & true are: 

  • A serif face, like Georgia or Lora, for long-running type. Then a sans serif face like Roboto or Open Sans for headlines.
  • A sans serif like Lato or Robota for the body copy and a fun, decorative font for headlines.
  • Use one typeface for the entire piece and only change the size and weight. Choosing a font with many weights and styles like Noto Sans or Merriweather makes this easier.

2-Use high-quality fonts 

You may have access to hundreds of free fonts, but many of these are poor quality. What are the signs of a good font?

  • Multiple weights and styles are available. If you’re using a font frequently, you’re going to want bold and semi-bold styles as well as the italic versions of the regular weight and bolder weights. 
  • All of the characters are well-designed and readable. Some fonts have some really strange characters. Look at the whole alphabet and all the numbers before choosing a font that you’ll use frequently.

Since you’re limiting yourself to just a few fonts anyway (see point #1), spend some time looking at the weights and characters. You’ll only have to do this once and then you’ll have your list of preferred fonts and know they will work for all of your applications.

3-Be consistent with your type styling 

Always use the same font, size, weight, and color for all your headlines and subheads. The easiest way to keep things consistent is to use stylesheets so you don’t have to manually set the size, weight and color each time.

Also, don’t switch around between centered, flush left, and justified. It’s probably best to avoid justified type because it leads to gaps between words that make the text ugly and hard to read. 

4-Don’t underline anything other than a link 

Underlined text is now universally used to show that text is a hyperlink, and it is confusing to use it for anything else. There was a time (way back when there were typewriters with no italics) that people underlined items that were supposed to be italic. Now, people read underlines as links, and if they don’t link, then they think something is broken.

5-Pay attention to the type size 

If you’re creating a graphic that will be shown online, like a social media post, make sure that you’re working at 100% size and true resolution. If you’re working on an Instagram post but it fills your laptop monitor, the type will shrink down (and potentially be unreadable) when people see it on their phone.

Many people use the defaults when working in programs like Word or Powerpoint. However, keep in mind the final application. If the Word document is going to be printed, you may be able to use a smaller typeface than the default. 

When possible, tailor your PowerPoint slides to their final application–are they going to projected in a large room, or are they going to be printed out. Again, if they are primarily going to be printed and handed out you can decrease the size of the fonts throughout.

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