A series of practical tips that, from my clear point of view, we can value following to make use of free fonts in our compositions. Although remember that, like everything, each case and its context will have to be assessed.
- Limit the use of fonts
I never tire of repeating this typographic advice. We should not use too many different fonts in our communication piece or else we risk making our design look like a beginner’s.
You can start by combining a couple of fonts and later if you see it as essential, you can consider including a third. Remember that if we abuse different fonts in the same creative, we can load up the composition quite a bit, once again interfering with its readability.
- Do not neglect the visual hierarchy
The visual hierarchy manages to guide the viewer’s eye for a correct reading of the text. In order to establish a visual hierarchy with the fonts, we use the size, the kerning (tracking) and the typographic variables (weight, width and inclination). Everything can contribute to establishing a hierarchy to guide the eye to navigate through the composition.
So, when we go to make a design with the help of fonts, remember to always value the visual hierarchy. It may be useful to ask yourself the following question, what text or information do you want to be read first?
Thanks to the hierarchy we will be able to clarify to the user what is the least and most important of our piece of communication. Therefore, choose a font or font family that allows us to make use of font variables, so that we can mark parts of the text with bold or italics, and thus contribute to the visual hierarchy.
- Ensure text legibility
There is no better typographic advice. Whenever we use fonts, we need to make sure that everything contributes to their legibility. On the one hand, it reflects on the chosen typography and its morphology (its shape). Evaluate if it can be read correctly and also if it has enough contrast with the background.
On the other hand, if the text is going to end up reproduced on different media and sizes, don’t forget about scalability! Make sure the text remains legible despite its size being reduced or enlarged. Don’t forget to use Sans Serif Fonts in your design.
- Always keep in mind its shape and size
Consider the shape of the typography and the size of the texts. Depending on where the text is destined, we will need to assign it one size or another. For example, for texts of legal notices it is normal that the size never exceeds 5 or 6 points. For editorial blocks of text, which are going to be read at a short distance, we will use sizes ranging from 8 to 11 points.
Another example, if we use a font that is tall and condensed, we will be able to fit more characters in a small space than with a regular font.
- Beware of Kerning
And of course, in a list of typographic tips I couldn’t fail to mention kerning.
Kerning is the separation between pairs of characters. When we make use of typography for headlines or other special scenarios such as logo design, it is important to watch the kerning. If necessary, we will alter the spaces to make the word more harmonious.