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What that font says about your project

Morgan Smith's Layout avatar

It’s time: You have to choose a typeface. With so many options available, you can quickly get washed away in a sea of serifs, scripts, and loops. But not all fonts were created equally. Each typeface has a different personality and does best in different situations. So let’s match your project’s personality to the perfect typeface.

Handwritten: The DIY type

These typefaces have a cool, trendy vibe with an air of artistic creativity. And if you create your own handwritten font, you’re really living up to the DIY vibe.

HandwrittenFonts Download Amatic to get this font. 

This font says, “I’m advertising something that you can probably participate in that revolves around creativity. And you’ll meet some other creative people like yourself. Check it out!”

Handwritten fonts are great for concerts, art shows, craft fairs, brands for artists, and really any creative situation or person that you’re designing for.

Need to get creative, without creating your own font? Try Tansy or Amatic.

Bold: The opening act

Like the opening act at a concert, people expect more to follow a bold font. They set the tone for the night and get the crowd pumped up for what’s to follow.

BoldFonts Download Bemio to get this font.

These loud and proud typefaces say, “Read this right now to get the main idea! If you’re as excited as I am and want the details, it’s probably below in a smaller font.”

Bold fonts are good at grabbing people’s attention immediately or establishing a hierarchy. Due to their thick line weight, these fonts are hard not to look at and draw people in to read what’s next.

Book the band. Try Bemio or Tolyer.

Playful: Captain Obvious

There’s no mystery about your message when you use a playful font. Thanks to their decorative elements, you can immediately guess what they’re about.

Untitled-4 Download Sketch Bones to get this font.

A playful font says, “Look over here! See the fun shapes of my letters? No tricks, that’s exactly what I’m telling you about.”

Playful fonts are perfect for very specific and lighthearted events, such as holiday parties, summer camps, or kid’s activities.

Would you use a font decorated with snowflakes for a business letter? I sure hope not. But given the right client, they can be a pretty fun addition to your design.

Getting ready for Halloween? Try Sketch Bones or Burton’s Dreams.

Serif: Your best friend since kindergarten

Good old serif fonts — those classic letterforms that never let you down. Times New Roman has been helping you write papers since elementary school, and now there’s a big new playground of serifs just waiting to help you out.

SerifFonts Download Carton to get this font.

Need them to be a headline? Done. A logo? No problem. Body copy? That’s their favorite.

These fonts say, “We’re not here to brag, we just want to let you know what’s going on.”

While not always the most exciting typefaces, serif fonts will get along great with most other fonts and make a classic addition to any piece of work.

Reconnect with old friends. Try Carton or Andada.

Sans serif: The friends you made in college

Are they really that different from your best friend since kindergarten? No. But since you met them after all the awkward phases of growing up, they just naturally seem a bit trendier.

SansSerifFont Download Walkway to get this font.

Sans serif fonts are ready to do anything a serif font can do. They say, “We’re here to let you know what’s going on also, but in a more modern way.”

Sleek and simple, these fonts pair nicely with others and give your project a trendy and current vibe.

Want to make new friends? Try Walkway or Trade Gothic.

Cursive: The bride-to-be

These elegant fonts can turn heads and bring tears to your eyes. Used on the wrong project, however, people will only ask what’s wrong instead of seeing their beauty.

CursiveFonts Download Lavanderia to get this font.

Cursive fonts say, “This is formal, sophisticated, and important. And while it’s probably a lot of fun, it’s also a serious event.”

These typefaces are great for weddings, galas, formal invitations, and other sophisticated events. If people need to dress up for it, chances are that a cursive font would be appropriate for it also.

Need to pop the question? Try Lavanderia or Alek.

Interested in making your own font? Here’s when you should start from scratch (or use pre-made instead).

What now?

Just like every other rule in design, break the norm. Obviously not every font, even the ones with the right personality, will actually work for your project. Handwritten fonts can look sloppy, playful fonts can be annoying, and even serifs can disappoint. Trust your visual instincts to choose a font that works for both you and your client.

Share your experience with us. What are some of your favorite fonts? What situations do you find yourself using them in? What typefaces do you use the most often? We’d love to hear from you.

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