If we are our words, then fonts are the clothes we wear

April 2, 2010

I often discuss font issues with clients. The font/clothing analogy resonates for many of them. Like clothes, fonts serve a basic function — present text that is clear and readable. Beyond that, however, are many other factors that make selection difficult. Consider this:

  • In what style do you wish to present text? What do you want to communicate through your style choice? That you are solid, safe, and predictable? Or that you are edgy, creative, and contemporary? Fonts, like clothes, send signals.
  • Fonts are like clothing in that time and taste influence what is hot and what is not. (As with clothing, many hip designers are British.)
  • Dress codes reflect a community’s values. Design guidelines do too. Just as organizations may require uniforms, they may also require branding rules to be followed, so fonts/colors/styles are already chosen for you.
  • If you are collaborating with others, make sure your files are carrying their “clothes” with them. (How to embed fonts in a PowerPoint file.)

The following video runs through several genres of film, punctuated with text of lyrics in the appropriate font of that genre. Seeing this video prompted this blog post. Enjoy!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

ksalvesen 04.02.10 at 4:04 pm

Great Blog post. I must say I had never thought about the analogy about fonts and clothing but it makes perfect sense. It is funny, I thought about fonts just earlier today and was thinking about how to best find good fonts. Thank you for giving me a new way of thinking about fonts.