Choosing the Best Fonts: A Designer's Essential Toolkit

Post by
William Griffiths
Choosing the Best Fonts: A Designer's Essential Toolkit

Choosing the Best Fonts: A Designer's Essential Toolkit

It may seem like a simple decision to make within the context of an overall piece but trust us when we say that there’s more that goes into the font than you may realise. Sure, the priority is to make your work look good, but what exactly does that entail? Sometimes, you may think it can come down to personal preference alone, but we are here to tell you that it’s a little bit more complex than that.

Today, we want to take a look at what we deem to be a designer’s essential toolkit in landing on a font. From an outsider’s perspective, we may just take one look at a piece of writing and not think twice about it. In reality, though, if you really consider what it is you’re looking at, you’ll soon discover that a great font can live long in the memory (and a bad one can be forgotten in the blink of an eye).

The way in which we want to educate is simple: we want to take a look at the pros, and we want to take a look at the cons. There are obviously positives and negatives to just about anything in life, and this sub-genre of the design world is no different. So relax, sit back, and let us take you on a journey through this fascinating realm.

Picking the right font for your business

Sometimes, it can be difficult to make the right call - no matter how much time you spend scrutinising over the decision. It may not feel like a big deal at the moment, but if you want to carve out the right identity for yourself and your brand, then selecting the right image is going to be critical. If you don’t believe us, just go and ask the average consumer.

It’s all about creating an impact from the word go. Of course, it’s actually more technical than that, but it’s still an essential piece of the puzzle to keep in mind. You need to choose the right font for the right industry, depending on the tone you’re shooting for, because that can cap you off at the knees before you even get started. After all, you wouldn’t be colourful and playful for a finance business, just like you wouldn’t use a very strict and harsh font for a nursery.

You can also get paid fonts, too, which is something to consider if you want to make a long-term investment. Some aren’t interested in putting that kind of money into proceedings, but regardless of whether they are cheap or expensive, (most of the time) you’ll get commercial rights and licensing, which can be crucial if longevity is at the top of your priority list.

Avoiding the wrong font

On the flip side of what we’ve just discussed, it’s astonishing how easy it can be to choose the wrong font. It’s not going to be the make-or-break moment for a lot of companies, or at least that’s how they perceive it, but it’s certainly good to avoid making a bad first impression. In terms of how to get on the right side of the equation, it’s actually pretty simple.

Firstly, don’t use the same font that everyone else does. It’s bad enough to play copycat in everyday life, but in this case, it means you’re just fading into the background. It can be appealing in the sense that it allows you to skip over a few steps, but if you take the time to really plan it out, then it’ll be far more beneficial in the long run.

You want to be unique, and you want to stand out. Even when you’ve got a primary font, you’ll want to have a few different irons in the fire, with a display font and a secondary font to keep your company ticking along nicely. Fontjoy, for example, can help with font pairings and aid in steering clear of any difficulties in the future by visualising a font choice in situ.

12 of the best font designs

It’s never going to be easy to whittle down a list like this to just a select few, but we’ve tried to pick out a wide range of fonts that really get us thinking. Some are a bit funky, and others may feel a little basic, but along the way, they all have a particular message, and putting that out there for the world to see is what can give them purpose as a font.

1. Castle Begale

As if it wasn’t clear enough already, it’s important to be alternative. You want to stand out in a way that’s really going to help you sell your story and sell your brand to an audience, but if you’re trying to stay on a base level, you can’t afford to be too “out there” with the design. So, when you’ve got something like Castle Begale, you’ve got a perfect balance.

The lettering is obviously very different, as you can see with the T, G and A, all of which stretch far beyond the reach of what we’re used to seeing. At the same time, though, it still seems to be quite even in terms of the layout. You probably couldn’t use this as your secondary font, given the potential overlap, but as a header, we don’t think you can go too far wrong.

2. Mamenchisa

Whenever the word psychedelic is used, it’s often associated with a certain way of living. Alas, regardless of whether or not you feed into that, there’s no way of denying that it’s a word that can spark a great deal of conversation. When it comes to this font, they really have taken that display idea and ran with it.

The Mamenchisa font looks like something that has come straight out of Austin Powers, and we don’t mean that in a negative way. It has a nice flow to it, it feels like a throwback, and it’s not at all difficult to read. This could be plastered on just about any poster from the 90s onwards and fit the bill, especially if you’re trying to promote something fun and adventurous.

3. Nugros

When faced with a font that exclusively uses capital letters, there are bound to be some questions. With Nugros, we’ve got something that is part of the Sans Serif font family - but in a very interesting way. The lettering is spaced out nicely, it’s easy enough to read, and it isn’t actually too thick, which we think helps it avoid an “overbearing” sensation.

If we had to use a word to describe it on the base level, it would be “cool”. It probably functions better as a one-off word or phrase on the front cover of a magazine, which you could argue makes it feel a little bit one-dimensional. Still, you can’t help but look at it and analyse it, which is one of the first signs of a successful product in our book.

4. Vacation Display

If this isn’t a beautiful font, then we truly don’t know what is. From the second this bad boy caught our eye, we knew it was going to become a fan favourite, and rightly so. This encapsulates the feeling of every retro advertisement we’ve ever seen, and with the right design and colour palette behind it, Vacation Display would be near enough impossible to screw up.

It’s definitely catered towards a younger market, and that much feels obvious to say, with there being no hint of a secondary text in anything it is trying to do. The lettering is big, bold and bright, it’s not difficult to read, and it can fit onto just about any surface. We all like to feel as if we’re on holiday with the sun beaming down on us, and that’s the vibe we’re getting here.

5. Canette

Why do so many people choose not to join-up their handwriting when they get older? It’s a small pet peeve of ours, but it’s still irritating. Anyway, back to the font: Canette. We’ve always said that elegance is one of the most underrated tools to be used in graphic design, and with this font, there’s a certain feeling of comfort that comes over us.

It isn’t in your face, but also, it isn’t too subtle. It’s the right amount of captivating and noticing that only really begins when you start to examine the finer details. Whether it be the looping C into the A or how different the two uses of E are, there’s a real attraction behind this font in that it can be used for a bunch of different campaigns.

6. Free Lunch

Outside of the fact that it literally has the word lunch in it, Free Lunch already feels like it belongs in a fast food advertisement. It goes down the route of being a little bit messy, and although that isn’t something that everyone will be looking for in a font, we do think there are some merits behind it. Firstly, it allows for creative freedom with letters going under and over each other, which is daring yet pretty easy on the eye.

Secondly, bending the rules with a font like this means you can continue to stretch it as far as you want. If one letter is bigger than another, it doesn’t really matter. If the colour scheme changes in an instant, it doesn’t really matter. It’s great advertising, and it makes for satisfying viewing.

7. Easy Coast

If this doesn’t scream “travel fanatic,” then we’re not so sure what does. It feels like the kind of font you’d see being plastered over a movie sequence where the main characters shoot from one location to another. Some of the lettering can look a bit distorted upon first view, but if you keep it colourful and bright, as it feels like it was intended to be, there shouldn’t be too many problems.

Once again, this is another great example of a font that doesn’t really feel like it was designed to be secondary. This is the main character of any poster that it’s going to appear on, and that goes for any other kind of advertisement, too. Some may call it silly, but we feel like there’s a lot of mileage in a font like this.

8. Super Condensed Serif

If you want to find a font that is likely to create a Marmite-type effect, then boy, do we have the entry for you. This super condensed serif number lives and dies on the novelty of the text being stretched out. For some, this is going to put you off before you even get going - but for others, this is exactly the kind of strategy you need to implement if you want to make a splash in your market.

The first word that comes to mind is contemporary. It’s giving “fashion” as a genre that it would fit into perfectly, but as well as that, it’s also coming across as the sort of font that you have to get right. It can easily look tacky or out of place, especially if you don’t use the necessary colour scheme for the task (with this example showcasing how it can and should be used).

9. Focus Display

At first glance, some would say that elements of this font make it seem like it’s a pen that is just about to run out of ink. In our view, though, that’s a little pessimistic. The focus display is neat, tidy and takes on a new creative edge. It stretches the boundaries of what can be possible with a design that’s thin and simple, with some really intriguing characteristics on display.

It can be used in many different colours, it can move between display and secondary pretty seamlessly, and, most importantly, it has a softer touch. We feel compelled to read what’s being written because it’s being presented in such a calming way. Bravo.

10. Stara

We’ll take it back to the Nugros font to give an informed opinion on this one because we feel as if it hits a lot of the same bullet points. The letters are spaced out, it’s not hard to look at, and it feels commanding. The one key difference, however, is the lack of capital letters throughout - which we think can be seen as a pro and a con.

On the con side, some would say it’s not emphatic enough to be seen as a display font. On the flip side, though, it would make for a great secondary font, and you could argue that a piece of content utilising both would be really bold, and it’d be really useful for an infographic that isn’t trying to cram too much down your throat.

11. Santa Ana Sans

Now this is what we’d call a Hollywood typeface. Santa Ana Sans could be on every movie poster from now until the end of time, and we wouldn’t be upset by it and the reason why is simple: it’s diverse. In any style, size or bold/italic format, it doesn’t matter. We can already visualise so many different scenarios in which this would be useful.

There are quite a few different weights to it, too, allowing for a broader range of fonts. It may seem a bit too on the nose to simply refer to it as being modern, but that’s precisely what it is. It’s the new kid on the block that wants to push out some of the veterans, and it has every chance of doing so.

12. Odasans

We really love this font because, depending on how you manufacture it, you can completely change the tone you’re shooting for. Light, regular, semibold or bold, it doesn’t matter because they all hold some real value. Plus, and this can’t be overstated, there’s a really interesting gulf in size between the capital letters and the lowercase.

That adds an entirely new dynamic to the use of this font. Sure, you could argue that it works far better with certain colour schemes as opposed to others, which wouldn’t be entirely wrong. At the same time, this is a really cultured piece of work, and we want to applaud that as much as we can.

4 of the worst font designs

Getting away from negativity is always a great idea in any line of work, but we do feel the need to point out a couple of fonts that just don’t really do it for us. More often than not, it’s because they’re overused in the public sphere, but there are a few more elements to it that leave us recommending that you steer clear when picking out your next project.

1. Comic Sans

For so, so many years now, Comic Sans MS has been at the heart of endless jokes for those in the font ‘community’, if you will. It was released all the way back in 1994, and while it’s obviously popular enough to still be used to this day, it’s commonly considered to be a bit all over the place. Why? Well, partly because it doesn’t have any kind of flow whatsoever with uneven spacing and partly because it just doesn’t look natural.

The whole rhythm of the font just feels a bit off, and while, yes, the fact that it’s so notorious is exactly why it’ll continue to be used, it must be said that it just isn’t what you should be using under any normal circumstances. Even if you’re trying to appeal to a younger audience, you could still do far, far better.

2. Times New Roman

Times New Roman has quite literally been around for as long as we can remember and, for that matter, as long as many people older than us can remember. It’s often seen as quite a classy font, throwing back to the old-school newspapers and covers of yesteryear. While that’s all well and good, we’re just not so sure that there’s a proper place for it in the modern age.

It’s quite a narrow font and that doesn’t always make for the easiest reading experience. Plus, as is the case with so many in this field, there are other options that have surpassed it in just about every way imaginable. When scrolling through the choices, especially on Microsoft products, there are so many others that accomplish TNR’s intended goal but better.

3. Arial

For so many different word processors, Arial is the standard font that will be used. We can understand why, given that it’s fairly harmless and can’t cause too much drama one way or the other. However, we also think those are the same reasons why it doesn’t really hold a place of value in this game anymore.

It’s just so basic. Plain and simple. Some of the letters feel oversized, are bunched together too tightly, and look outright horrible for company branding and general marketing. It’s been around for a long time, and as a result, it can easily give off the impression that you’re making little to no effort if this is what you’ve landed on.

4. Verdana

The Verdana font, in our view, can be described in a fairly simple and concise manner: clunky. Everything should be a little bit thinner to ensure we aren’t getting three or four words per line. As a font family, it doesn’t really go all out to be unique, either, and in the current landscape, we believe that should be seen as priority number one above everything else.

The everlasting popularity of Verdana can be attributed to the fact that it is quite readable, even in smaller sizes. Unfortunately, there are many other competitors out there that can accomplish such a goal while looking far more sleek. No matter which way you slice it, this just doesn’t add up to a sustainable, long-term option.

Need help with fonts and graphic design? Contact Hatchly!

It can always be a bit of a pain in the neck to get the specifics sorted, especially when it’s in reference to graphic design queries that you don’t really understand. So, when things of this nature pop up, it’s always important to err on the side of caution. You’ll need experts in the field to pick the right typography, work on a design and produce the best possible results - which is where we come in.

Here at Hatchly, we have spent years honing our craft in an attempt to provide our customers with the best unlimited graphic design imaginable. It’s taken time, hard work and dedication, but we believe that we can offer you an incredible service from top to bottom. From great prices to impeccable customer service, we’re unbelievably proud of what we’ve been able to build.

In terms of the future, we’re ready to take on new clients and help them meet their business goals from day one. It isn’t going to happen overnight, but what we can promise is that we’ll give everything we’ve got in the pursuit of success.

So, if you’re interested in learning more, feel free to check out our website and get in touch!

William Griffiths
Founder & Creative Director

Want to learn more?
Let's have a chat about how we can help you.

⚡️ Limited Time offer: Use code "HATCHLY10" for 10% off your First Quarter. Book a Demo now⚡️