A B C of Design

Rules for Fonts and Typography


It is an exciting time. New fonts are being introduced daily. Through the Internet, every font that exists is available to you today, this very minute. Just knowing they are out there makes us want to see them and use them.

Not only do designers have to know the personality and the voice of the fonts that they use in their letterhead, ad, and brochure designs, but they also have to know what fonts work best for screen-based presentations. Believe it! There are some fonts that work for Internet, multimedia, and streaming video, and some that don’t. For more information regarding the basics of type for the screen, visit

When it comes to typography, the rules have been as follows:

“Never use more than two typestyles on a page.”

“Use only one family of typefaces.”

“If you must use two styles at all, use sans serif for headlines and serif for body type.”
Well, it is possible to use three or four faces, but it is not easy. Communication must be clear. The difference must be evident, if not obvious. Always use contrast. Contrast can be size, weight, color, or voice. Interest is paramount, as long as you remember that readability is paramount. Get it? Just be careful.

We have not, as you notice, gone into a deep discussion of the vast selection of display types on the market — the grunge or dirty types, the fancy and frilly types, the odd and trendy types. The basic rules that we all seek to break are still the rules of good typography. Remember that you are first a communicator, second a designer, and third an artist. There is room for you to be all three if you use good sense.

The major consideration in seleting a typeface for display and bodytext is “Easy to read” and “clarity of output”. The reason can be contributed to the difference of pixel count on screen and print. Serif fonts look beautiful on print but the same might look clutterred on display screen. The choice should be made based on the following points
If the large size has to be used Any typface is ok for on-screen.
For smaller text Sans-Serif is preferred, or a font with simpler letterforms and larger x-heights.
Touching letters should always be avoided or extra tracking need to be added to make things clear.
What might be the variations for

a> Retail toy store
Needs much more ease of readability for the potential children target customer. Large Face and Sans Serif is better idea.

b> An investment counseling service
Fonts needs to display seriouseness, which is better done with Serif Fonts like Times New Roman with a more professional appeal.

c> An Internet service provider
Content is the king here so clarity is desired, San serif font like Arial like font is preferred

d> An ethnic restaurant
I think this is a place for a designer to experiemnt with newer fonts and try the fancy and the frilly types.

Outward factors which decides legibility is where the font is used display or print. Print has more DPI then Display which allows for more versatile serif fonts.

When display on a computer, a number of features of the font can decide legibility
Size: Large size are more legible for any fonts
In small Size, simpler fonts and Sans serif fonts are more legible
Larger X height is a font make it more legible
Extra tracking between letters can make the font more legible
Well hinted font can be more legible

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