10 Solutions to Your Font Search Headaches

There are thou­sands of fonts out there. Some are beau­ti­ful­ly designed with del­i­cate curves and well thought out har­mo­ny between each let­ter­form. Oth­ers are near­ly illeg­i­ble, mak­ing the read seem like a typo­graph­ic maze, espe­cial­ly when used in a whole para­graph. In between, you’ll see just about every­thing imaginable.

10 solutions to your font search headache


Even for the expe­ri­enced design­er, the selec­tion of a type­face or a font is always a strate­gic, well thought-out process. Depend­ing on who your client is and what you’re try­ing to com­mu­ni­cate, cer­tain type­faces will work bet­ter over others.

If your busi­ness is in the grow­ing phas­es and you don’t have a design­er on staff, these next few tips will def­i­nite­ly give you the knowl­edge to make bet­ter font selec­tions. It may sound daunt­ing, but fear not!  Here are Nicte Cre­ative Design’s 10 solu­tions to help you:


Solution #1

Learn from research. 

Find out what com­pa­nies with the same tar­get mar­ket are using — not to copy them but for inspi­ra­tion and an aware­ness of what can work. Even if you learn what you don’t like, it gets you clos­er to what you do. 


Solution #2

Free vs. paid.

There are plen­ty of good fonts that are free. But there are also very afford­able ones from pro­fes­sion­al type­face design­ers. A typeface/font can take months or years to design. Well-designed fonts con­sid­er how each char­ac­ter inter­acts with anoth­er. Some will include lig­a­tures (two or more let­ters joined as one sin­gle glyph) to pro­vide added leg­i­bil­i­ty and cus­tomiza­tion. Before you pur­chase be sure to read the license infor­ma­tion for its use before you buy.

Here are some great resources:


Solution #3

Limit your fonts to three. 

Using fonts

Don’t use too many dif­fer­ent fonts in your brand’s visu­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It can over­whelm your audi­ence and cause them to lose inter­est. And you don’t want to con­vey dis­or­ga­ni­za­tion in your brands’ mes­sage. Once you have an idea about a type style, start com­par­ing the leg­i­bil­i­ty and visu­al flow between each let­ter to fur­ther whit­tle the choice down.

Solution #4

Test the font for spacing and size in a paragraph form. 

Be sure to check if there are any let­ters that have odd spac­ing between one anoth­er, as this will cre­ate a strain in read­ing flow. If it does, try your next choice of font. Then try the font in dif­fer­ent point sizes with­in a para­graph, to see if that makes it hard to read.


Solution #5

Create hierarchy with size. 

Gen­er­al, it’s best to cre­ate hier­ar­chy con­sid­er­ing an order of importance.
For instance:
1. Title/headline
2. Sub-title
3. Paragraphs
4. Disclaimers

Look for a type­face that has at least a bold, italic/oblique, and book weight to give you max­i­mum flex­i­bil­i­ty when cre­at­ing empha­sis in var­i­ous parts of the copy, ie: to cre­ate empha­sis on a title by using the bold font itself. Don’t man­u­al­ly bold or ital­i­cize the font, as doing so will decrease the care­ful­ly cal­cu­lat­ed forms in each let­ter and affect legibility.

Type hierarchy

Solution #6

Don’t stretch it.

It’s almost like wear­ing an over­sized shirt—it’s clear when some­thing does­n’t look right, espe­cial­ly when a font is manip­u­lat­ed. You don’t want your view­er expe­ri­ence that.


Solution #7

Test the leading. 

The lead­ing is the line space between one line of text and the next line above or below each oth­er. Some pro­grams will allow you to increase or decrease this, but when you don’t have that option, it’s impor­tant to test it. Look for things like this: If one line has the descend­ing let­ter form “g” and the sen­tence below it has the ascend­ing let­ter “h” they should not over­lap, as it cre­ates a focal strain.

Leading sample

Solution #8

Print it out.

Select­ing the right font can be hard, espe­cial­ly if you have a few favorites. Step away from the com­put­er and print out sam­ples of a head­er and para­graph with each font that you have whit­tled it down to. View­ing it this way will often give you sur­pris­ing clar­i­ty on the best font pairing.


Solution #9

Color is your secret weapon.

Using a black font isn’t your only option. Not many think of col­or as an asset when select­ing type, but it is. Col­or is used to com­mu­ni­cate a mood, but it will also enhance your type. If you want to cre­ate a head­er, but you feel using a black font will be too bold for your mes­sag­ing, then incor­po­rate your brand col­ors and tie your visu­als togeth­er. Your back­ground col­or can also enhance your type, but be very cau­tious when using a light back­ground with a light type col­or, as these ele­ments may get lost together.


Solution #10

Get feedback.

Be selec­tive with who you get input from. Hon­esty is crit­i­cal, so be sure to count on col­leagues or friends that will give you their true opin­ion. It’s prob­a­bly wise to have no more than three peo­ple review your choic­es so you don’t get lost in a soup of opinions.

Typog­ra­phy is a very pow­er­ful tool. Don’t be afraid to embrace it! Although find­ing the right font may feel frus­trat­ing, it’s well worth the time you spend research­ing and eval­u­at­ing the best fit for your com­pa­ny or project. Our tips will help you make bet­ter choic­es for any future projects you may have — from a sim­ple office memo to your brands’ visu­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion across the board.

Now that you know about these 10 solu­tions, make your­self some tea or cof­fee and enjoy the process! 

I’d love to hear from you, do you have any sources to share for great fonts?

Nicte Creative Design
Nicte Cuevas, Principal of Nicte Creative Design, empowers mission-driven businesses through strategic design & branding. Nicte has applied this when working with Adobe Spark and Twitter Business, LinkedIn Learning, Dogs on Deployment and Purina, Girl Scouts, The Houston Zoo and The Contemporary Arts Museum. Her excellence in communication design & marketing has been recognized by multiple national / international awards, including a coveted feature in Graphic Design USA's People to Watch.

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