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Why fonts are important

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Last month I made a birthday card for my friend Rachel’s son Josh.

Josh is seven years old and Minecraft mad like the rest of the seven-year-old population, so the first thing I did was find an image of Minecraft character Steve to put on the front.

The second thing I did was very important – I downloaded a Minecraft-like font and on the front of the card wrote “Happy 7th birthday Josh”.

Nothing complicated. Nothing too fancy. But, crucially, it was all in what looked like Minecraft writing. The end result was one thrilled-to-bits seven-year-old who proudly showed off his card to everyone who came to visit the house.

I had a similar reaction when I made a colouring in sheet for a church group recently, again in Minecraft font. One little girl asked me if I could do next month’s in Harry Potter writing.

My point is this: Fonts are important.

They speak volumes about the kind of company you are, who the product is aimed at, and can make the difference between the public reading your words or not reading them.

Marks and Spencer’s award-winning Plan A campaign uses fonts which convey simplicity, and class and are easy to read into the bargain. What they say is: It’s all about the words, not about the font or the design.

Newspapers like the Daily Mirror, The Sun and the Daily Star all use the same kind of large headline fonts because they are attention-grabbing and have come to mean “tabloid newspaper”. Just by looking at the font, you know what kind of newspaper it is.

Non-tabloids like The Guardian, The Times and the Daily Telegraph use smaller, classier fonts not only so they can write wordier headlines but also to signify seriousness and to bestow an intelligence on the reader. You’re not the kind of person who needs large, vulgar words to grab your attention, the font says, you are in the market for a newspaper which tells you the news. Flattered, the reader buys the newspaper.

It bears repeating so I will: Fonts are important. When you’re designing your company logo, or creating your company literature, take your fonts seriously. Don’t limit yourself to the ones you know – visit sites like dafont, 1001fonts and fontspace and have a look at what they have to offer. Spend some time on it – it makes more of an impact than you’d think.

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