How To Use Fonts (And Why You Should Care)
Communication, both face-to-face and in writing, occurs on two levels: verbal and non-verbal. To achieve maximum impact, it is essential that this dual communication consistently corresponds. Think about it. Would you find a snickering salesperson persuasive? Would you find a monotone motivational speaker inspiring? No. Not any more than you find your state Congressperson sincere. Why? Because communication is more than just words. Because, quite simply, presentation matters. In writing, size does matter. And spacing. And color. And everything else.
Presentation is crucial to all forms of communication—most of all when dealing with written communication. Unlike information conveyed personally, a written message is static. It must speak for itself. Expert communicators know that superb content is not enough. They know that to achieve truly effective communication one must pay equal attention to how the content is presented. Contrarily, untrained communicators don’t realize that style can, and often does, override substance—and corporate trash-cans nationwide brim with the ridiculed remains of their ransom-note-like resumes. So how can you enhance the quality of your presentation? Well, just like Coach used to tell you—put in your mouthpiece and start with the basics. And basically, the fundamental element of written communication is font.
But what exactly, you might ask, is font? Put technically, font is the interface between your ideas and your readers. Put simply, font is the style of your typeface. Is it big, bold, crisp, underlined, or colored? Is it spaced well? Is it even legible? These are all important questions—questions that any conscientious document creator must answer and act on. But why are font decisions so critical?
When utilized well, a font or font mix accomplishes four things: 1) focuses attention, 2) enhances readability, 3) sets a tone, and 4) projects an image. Font is your first line of defense against reader apathy—and your first chance to really capture an audience, create a positive and lasting impression, and encourage continued interest. Remember, though, while font can (and should) be used for good, it can also be used for bad…impressions that is. Every day, writers discover that font choice is an excellent opportunity to make a mockery of their work. This in mind, effective font should be chosen both carefully and strategically. To assist, presented here is a brief digest of useful font guidelines.
1. WATCH YOUR CASE
2. SIZE DOES MATTER
3. KEEP IT SIMPLE
4. BE CONSISTENT...
5. ...YET USE VARIETY WHEN NEEDED
6. ABOVE ALL ELSE: MATCH YOUR MEDIUM