Design is a critical element in most aspects of marketing, PR, and social media. It’s the thing that catches people’s attention and draws them in. It could be a book cover design, a flyer, or a graphic you plan to post on your social media feed. If you’re diving into designing things yourself, you’re sure to run into a very important choice at some point – what sort of font will you use? If you’ve never done it before, it can be intimidating. Many programs come with a set of default fonts that you can use freely when you’ve bought the license. However, this can be very limiting. People who have been designing for a long time can often recognize popular fonts on sight. If you want to use font effectively and stand out in whatever you’re making, here’s where to start.
What to look for in a font
The styles of fonts out there are endless- from creepy to elegant to academic, there is something out there that can fit your project perfectly. The first step is understanding what kind of a message you want to get across in your graphic. If you’re designing a book cover for a children’s series, you might choose something rounded and fun. For an invitation to a virtual event, you might want to choose something with looping, cursive-like elements. If it is a more casual event, something with a hand-written print look might be appropriate. If you’re unsure of exactly what you want, try a few different ones and see what fits the look of your graphic. Looking at examples of graphics you like and finding fonts that are similar can be a useful starting point when you’re at a loss.
Where to get fonts
I’m a huge proponent of DaFont, which is a repository of custom fonts where people with a passion for design can upload their work. It’s where I start my searches. Not only is it a large database, but it has fonts clearly sorted and labeled. There are distinct categories for every font to help you find the perfect one. The designers also put their usage terms upfront on DaFont. This is important because to legally use some fonts, you may need to purchase them beforehand. Some are only free for personal use but might require payment for commercial use. Others are 100% free for both personal and professional use. Some may not be used commercially at all! Make sure to check this out before even downloading the font. Beware of fonts that might imitate popular IP (the Harry Potter font is a popular one), since this could also land you in legal hot water.
Google Fonts is also a place to find fonts that are licensed for both commercial and personal use. It has less choices in terms of categories and gets a bit more technical in its filter system. It is still a comprehensive resource, and you won’t need to worry about whether a particular font is licensed or not.
There are a lot of choices out there – so happy hunting! If you do plan on making your own graphics for social media use, make sure to check out our social media tag for helpful tips!