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Which font should I use?


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Which font should I use?

  1. A typography primer 
 for non-designers Which font 
 should I use? Version 4.0
  2. KAPTEREV.COM So, you are designing a presentation or a resume a poster a document… ok, you name it
  3. KAPTEREV.COM But... you’ve got a little problem
  5. KAPTEREV.COM There could be a simple 
 answer to your question Don’t panic
  6. That’s it, you’re welcome. Use Georgia 
 or Verdana.
  7. KAPTEREV.COM Are you sure? There are, like, 50 slides ahead.
  8. KAPTEREV.COM Ok, you want to find 
 a good typeface, but… What exactly 
 is “a good typeface”?
  9. KAPTEREV.COM A good typeface 
 1) is readable and 2) has character Maybe too fancyJust rightMaybe too boring AgAg Ag
  10. KAPTEREV.COM readable? It’s a complex subject and for the sake of simplicity 
 we suggest adopting one simple rule… How do we know 
 if the typeface is
  11. KAPTEREV.COM Ag AgAg Ag Avoid typefaces that are 
 obviously hard to read Comic Sans Blackmoor LET Brush Script Monotype Corsiva
  12. KAPTEREV.COM character? Ok, but what about
  13. KAPTEREV.COM Typefaces carry an emotional charge. What emotion are you trying to convey? Choose a typeface accordingly. Contemporary Traditional or CoolWarm
  14. KAPTEREV.COM Let’s begin with tradition
  15. KAPTEREV.COM R R R RR Traditional  Contemporary Novelty Robust Simple Affordable Classical Sophisticated Complex Luxury RDidot Playfair Minion Fedra Sans PT Sans Avenir
  16. KAPTEREV.COM Rates Why some typefaces have a more traditional look? 
 The obvious answers would be “serifs”. Rates A serif is a small line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter or symbol. A typeface with serifs is called a serif typeface (or serifed typeface). A typeface without serifs is called sans serif or sans-serif, from the French sans, meaning "without."N Didot Avenir Traditional Contemporary
  17. KAPTEREV.COM Bodoni Sans Wow. What has just happened? The serifs are gone! Serifs are important — but even if we take them away, the font on the left still looks more traditional. RatesAvenir Traditional Contemporary
  18. KAPTEREV.COM R The left R has more difference between thick 
 and thin strokes. The technical term is contrast. More contrast 
 More sophistication Less contrast 
 Less sophistication Bodoni Sans Avenir
  19. KAPTEREV.COM R Suppose we add even more contrast… See? Very sophisticated (also not very readable). Low contrastHigh contrastExorbitant contrast Bodoni Sans AvenirBroadway
  20. KAPTEREV.COM To conclude: tradition and sophistication 
 are mostly communicated via serifs and contrast. Serifs More contrast More sophisticated More historical No serifs Less contrast Less sophisticated More contemporary R R R RR RDidot Playfair Minion Fedra Sans PT Sans Century Gothic
  21. KAPTEREV.COM warmth The second dimension is
  22. KAPTEREV.COM Geometric Distant Factory-made Rational Precise Calligraphic Approachable Hand-mande Emotional Imperfect Warm Cool More calligraphic typefaces have more warmth. More geometric typefaces are cooler. They are also harder to read. RatesPalatino Linotype Century Gothic Rates
  23. KAPTEREV.COM This was done 
 by a calligrapher. Beautiful and 
 slightly imperfect. R R An engineer with a ruler. Calculated. A fashion designer with a French curve. Very precise, lots 
 of thought. RPalatino Linotype Century Gothic Didot Warm CoolCool
  24. KAPTEREV.COM RWarm Once again, it’s not just about serifs! Typefaces that have more contrast are also warmer. R Warm Optima Cool Didot RPalatino Linotype
  25. KAPTEREV.COM Calligraphic 
 Warm Geometric 
 Cool R R R RR RJannon Swash Palatino APC Garamond Minion PT Serif Didot RCentury Gothic RGill Sans RPT Sans RCandara RFedra Sans ROptima
  26. KAPTEREV.COM We hope it makes some sense now. Let’s begin with discussing the four most prominent font groups. Contemporary Traditional or CoolWarm
  27. KAPTEREV.COM Modern Geometric Old Style Humanist Readability: Satisfactory Readability: Poor Character: Warm, traditional Character: Cool, traditional Readability: Excellent Readability: Poor Character: Warm, contemporary Character: Cool, contemporary Star typeface: Garamond Star typeface: Didot Star typeface: Gill Sans Star typeface: Futura Contemporary CoolWarm Traditional or
  28. KAPTEREV.COM Before choosing a typeface decide Frankly, this is the hardest part. If you can’t decide 
 on this, just use Georgia or Verdana (or both). what emotion 
 to convey
  29. KAPTEREV.COM You’re about to see 40 typefaces This typeface comes free with Windows 10 This one comes with Mac OS 10.11 Leads to a Wikipedia article. It’s good to know the story of your typeface and it’s a good sign when a typeface is on Wikipedia. Click and download this typeface 
 for free at or search 
 the site for similarly tagged fonts. For one reason or another we 
 do not recommend this typeface Here are some neat icons to help you with selection
  30. KAPTEREV.COMPhoto by David Iliff Old-Style Serif Classical Roman antiquity, Renaissance 
 or Baroque, early printed books
  31. KAPTEREV.COM High contrast with serifs, calligraphic, very warm and quite complex Old-Style Serif Great 20th century design by Hermann Zapf Based on 15th-century Venetian type by Nicolas Jenson Designed in the US in 1915, excellent legibility Hoefler Text Was used in Wikipedia logo and this should count for something A very nice design inspired by Garamond. 45 Styles! Free! Garamond Based on 16th century design, the most famous old style type
  32. KAPTEREV.COMPhoto by Marc Vassal Modern Serif 19th century Paris, high fashion, Vogue magazine
  33. KAPTEREV.COM Modern Serif Bodoni Didot More fonts tagged “modern”… Late 18th century Italian design, one of the best of its kind French design, even more refined and geometric than Bodoni 20th century American variation Sometimes classified as transitional, it is both readable and fancy Contemporary narrow typeface with historic look Even higher contrast, very cool, fashionable and calculated. Problematic readability as the letters are overly complex. Recommended for headings
  34. KAPTEREV.COM First half of the 20th century, modernism, Bauhaus, Russian constructivism Photo by Matt Olson Geometric Sans
  35. KAPTEREV.COM Geometric Sans Futura Avenir Next More fonts tagged “geometric”… Century Gothic It’s on both PC and Mac and that’s the only reason we recommend it An American take on Futura The original German Futura, one and only Aesthetically pleasing and highly readable A semi-serifed contemporary geometric typeface Based around simple geometric forms like square, circle or triangle. 
 Minimalist, straight-forward, modernist. As a rule, have readability problems
  36. KAPTEREV.COM Humanist Sans Print by William Morris Late 19th and 20th century arts and cra s movement, present-day Europe
  37. KAPTEREV.COM Humanist Sans Gill Sans Verdana PT Sans Segoe UI More fonts tagged “humanist”… Eric Gill’s greatest design, it’s on every pub menu in London Highly readable and aesthetically decent (used by IKEA!) Comes with Office, the best of C-fonts Microsoft uses Segoe family for branding and interfaces Versatile and stylish Designed by Erik Spiekermann, a legend in the world of typography Not a bad font, but it suffers from gross overuse Calibri Based on hand-written text proportions. Very warm, friendly and very readable Corbel
  38. KAPTEREV.COM Traditional, warm Contemporary, warm Modern Geometric Old Style Humanist We’ve covered groups that have the most character. 
 Let’s cover some neutral ones as well. Contemporary, cool Traditional, cool ?Less character, 
 more neutral
  39. KAPTEREV.COM Rates Old Style Serif Modern Serif Rates Transitional Serif Rates Factory-made Distant Rational Precise Hand-mande Friendly Emotional Imperfect Warm CoolNeutral Mass-produced Convenient Practical Cost-effective
  40. KAPTEREV.COM 18-19th century industrial revolution, newspapers, mass-produced books Transitional Serif
  41. KAPTEREV.COM Very readable, practical and non-obtrusive but o en lack distinct individuality Georgia Minion More fonts tagged “transitional”… Transitional Serif PT Serif Century Schoolbook The best transitional serif available on both platforms This maybe the first typeface you ever saw in your life Another timeless design by Eric Gill Often classified as old-style, it the most popular book font A well-executed commission by the Russian Government Times New Roman Oh, please. Enough is enough. Replace with Georgia or Tinos. An innovative serif metrically compatible with Times
  42. KAPTEREV.COM It should be Transitional Sans, right? 
 But no, typography is not that obvious. Traditional, warm Contemporary, warm ? GeometricHumanist Contemporary, cool Traditional, coolTraditional, neutral ModernOld Style Transitional
  43. KAPTEREV.COM Late 19th–early 20th century. But also… e 1960’s. Swiss design. Helvetica. Grotesque & neo-grotesque
  44. KAPTEREV.COM Quite readable and neutral, the quintessential 20th century typeface group Franklin Gothic News Gothic Helvetica Neue More fonts tagged “Grotesque”… Grotesque & neo-grotesque Celebrated American typeface named after Ben Franklin Designed for the Rubik’s Cube Exhibition, released for free Remember the Star Wars crawl? That was in News Gothic “When in doubt use Helvetica” was the common rule once A replacement for Arial Excellent free typeface from Poland Arial A Helvetica rip-off which is just everywhere
  45. KAPTEREV.COM Modern Geometric Old Style Humanist Readability: Satisfactory Readability: Poor Character: Warm, traditional Character: Cool, traditional Readability: Excellent Readability: Poor Character: Warm, contemporary Character: Cool, contemporary Star typeface: Garamond Star typeface: Didot Star typeface: Gill Sans Star typeface: Futura Transitional Readability: Good Character: Neutral, traditional Star typeface: Baskerville Grotesque Readability: Good Character: Neutral, contemporary Star typeface: Helvetica
  46. KAPTEREV.COM We’re almost done! But there is 
 one more thing...
  47. KAPTEREV.COM Traditional, warm Contemporary, warm ? Modern Geometric Old Style Humanist Contemporary, cool Traditional, cool Transitional Traditional, neutral Grotesque Contemporary, neutral ? ?
  48. KAPTEREV.COM Slab Serif Photo by Luca Venturi Reminiscent of the Wild West signs and posters, it is great for shouting at people.
  49. KAPTEREV.COM Slab Serif Low contrast with serifs, which look like slabs — hence the name. Comes in flavours: geometric, humanist or transitional. Rockwell Charter More fonts tagged “Slab”… Geometric design from 1930’s It’s very readable and totally looks like a transitional typeface Contemporary humanist Slab Serif, which kind of escapes the classification
  50. KAPTEREV.COM Behold… The final map
  51. KAPTEREV.COM Warm Ag Ag Ag Ag Ag Ag Ag Ag Old-style serif Transitional Serif Modern Serif Humanist, Slab Transitional, Slab Geometric, Slab Geometric Sans[Neo-]GrotesqueHumanist Sans Neutral Cool Warm Neutral Cool Traditional Traditional Neutral Contemporary Contemporary Neutral
  52. KAPTEREV.COM Go take another look, if you didn’t. Did you find a typeface 
 for yourself?
  53. KAPTEREV.COM Want to know more about typefaces and typography? We think these books are awesome for beginners. Like, 20% of it is for lawyers.
  54. KAPTEREV.COM +7 495 764 1898 Alexei Kapterev Presentation skills and visual communication m