As designers, we all have our arsenal of favorite fonts or typefaces. Tested and proven, they do the trick for any job thrown our way. We trust them. They become familiar, comfortable. To the tune of...Helvetica is starting to sound pretty good as the name of my first child. But, are we really putting enough thought into our typographical choices?
Consider other design elements. We spend hours clicking through stock photography sites searching for the perfect image to represent a design. The mood and personality of the photograph must match our intention so that the consumer quickly recognizes the feeling we want to evoke. Designers rely heavily on the emotion factor of a photograph.
So, shouldn’t typography merit the same kind of attention? (After all, you wouldn’t continue to give Baby Helvetica all the love when Baby #2 came along, right?) Like other art forms, a typeface is constructed of various components that convey personality. Is it masculine or feminine? Futuristic or retro? Bold or friendly? Striking or subtle? Deciding the answers to these questions is key to narrowing the search for the ideal choice for any particular project.
While it seems faster and easier on the budget to keep going back to those trusted fonts time after time, remember that a typeface is a visual tool just like any other. The choice we make will ultimately affect the overall design of our end product and, most importantly, its effectiveness. The primary purpose of a font is to be readable. But it’s just as crucial as other visual elements in conveying the overall tone and emotion of the design.