Font Choices in Layout

23 Jun No Comments
Choosing fonts and styling in a graphic design project can be the first, and most difficult hurdle when you begin any project. In my experience, the first problem I present myself with is deciding which typefaces to use when I set up my initial layout. My goal is to limit the layout to use four typefaces at the very most. Obviously there are the basic body font and headline font. Then the secondary typefaces that might include sub-heads, image notations or pull-quotes. I like to create an elegant balance of typographic hierarchy in my layouts so I will usually mix up serifs with sans-serif fonts to reach this balance. I very rarely use serif typefaces in a heavy or bold weight. I personally feel these feel too bulky in most cases. I also like to challenge myself to to create a nice typographic hierarchy between light weight fonts. I always start first with my font choice for the body, or paragraph style. I begin this by going down the checklist of the basic ideas of the document. There are modern “techy” fonts that I like to use when the mood is right, then there are the elegant “classy” fonts that I like to use when appropriate. Not all pieces fall into either of these perfectly, but this is just where I like to start. Then there are always those projects that call for a more neutral approach where your client doesn’t really want to be decisive in one way or the other. Of course I can always fall back and reconsider these decisions later in the project when I feel the choices aren’t working. But changing fonts in an entire document layout can be a very unpleasant experience considering the character widths and spacing that will completely reflow the whole document. In many cases, designers request an additional fee for changing the font styling after the layout has been established. I can completely understand this because I understand the effort involved in the layout of a document. When you spend 16 hours getting the text flow to work out, then you are asked to change the typeface you are looking at a few hours of work to get the layout to fall together again. Not to mention that changing the font of the body style can increase your page count relative to the length of the document. All I can recommend is to choose wisely, and be prepared to charge a bit extra for changing after the project is well on its way to completion.

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