USING FONTS FOR THE BEST RESULTS

Do you want to create pieces that have punch?
Then finding the right fonts is the key.

by David Goebelbecker, Kidco Labs

Fonts are all around you. Every time you read a postcard, look at a magazine or identify a sign on the road, you are looking at a font or several fonts working together to get a message across. A font is a complete assortment of type of one size and family. When designers choose fonts, they look for typestyles or fonts that will grab your attention while communicating the message effectively.

Your computer relies on fonts as well, to display the information on screen. The operating system comes with a set of fonts or typestyles that it uses to change raw computer code into something more aesthetically pleasing. It also uses the set of fonts to help display information from the Internet by taking each character of raw information and displaying it to look like the font that it's been instructed to use.

Most people classify fonts in several groupings. There are content fonts, script fonts, decorative fonts and dingbat fonts. Content fonts are used for the bulk of the information you will read. These are broken into 2 categories—serif and sanserif. A sanserif font would be like the one you are reading now. It s pretty straightforward and simple in format. A serif font has small 'feet' at the top and the bottom. This is similar to what a lot of newspapers and magazines use for most of their articles.

Script fonts look like they are hand-written. The computer uses the font to join letters together so that they look like one fluid brush stroke. These are usually only used for headlines or for text that is meant to stand out from the rest of the page. The same can be said with decorative fonts, which look like almost anything. These are used to create logos, headlines and short phrases throughout a printed piece. They help establish the look and feel for the overall page layout. Dingbat fonts are decorative characters, shapes or bullets that are used to dress up a printed piece.

To help you better understand the differences between fonts, we have supplied a few samples of the same words being set in different font styles:



GETTING THE MOST OUT OF FONTS

If you are creating pieces for your ministry, there are some very simple guidelines that you should follow to make sure that the piece will have the biggest impact.
  1. Use decorative fonts sparingly only for logos, headlines or sub-headlines.
  2. Find a content font that works well with your decorative font for the bulk of the text.
  3. Don't choose too many different fonts—less is better—and don't overuse decorative fonts in your design. Too much of a good thing is not good!
  4. Use fonts that are in the same family (bold, extra bold, thin, regular, italic, etc.) to highlight important text within the main body of the piece.
  5. Make sure that your target audience can read and understand what is written regardless of font.
FONT DESIGN 101

One of the easiest ways to create a dynamic flyer or page is to use examples that are created by other people. If you have examples of what you like (or don't like) you can use these as a map to create your layout or design. Professional designers constantly research their competitors and study effective techniques and current trends. If you want to be effective, learn from the pros!

Before you start typing, have an idea of what you are creating. Go to a bookstore and by a few magazines, or keep a file of things that you find interesting. Use these for your inspiration to start. Next, you will want to choose the fonts you're going to use. There are a lot of font resources available over the Internet that allow you to download fonts for FREE! And you get a chance to see what the font looks like on screen before you install it. Choose several fonts that you think will work for your piece and download them. Don't settle on the first one you find; give yourself options.

Install a few options, and try out the wording. There are times that a font looks really great, until you type the word or phrase you need. Don't be afraid to experiment and play. Create several options and get feedback from people you trust of what looks the best. You won t want to worry about colors yet. Make sure that everything fits on the page and makes sense. Color is literally icing on the cake. Without a solid design and text, all the colors in the world can't make it better. It's still an ugly design, but now with a lot of color.

Creating your own flyers, postcards and PowerPoint slides isn't hard. It just takes practice and feedback from others who you trust. In time you will find that fonts will become your best friend. You will understand that these tools can empower you to improve your ministry image and that in turn can improve how others view it as well. Everything that you send out is a reflection of your ministry. If it looks good, people will perceive that you and your ministry have it all together, and this may make the difference in bringing them in next Sunday!

LINKS TO FONT RESOURCES

1001 Free Fonts www.1001freefonts.com
Acid Fonts www.acidfonts.com
Fonts.com www.fonts.com
Font Freak www.fontfreak.com
DAFont.com www.dafont.com


A WARNING BEFORE INSTALLING NEW FONTS!

Before installing fonts on your system, you will want to check your computer documentation to make sure that you are doing it correctly. In most cases, installing fonts is very simple. If you install them correctly, they should be available for use in all of your computer software. If you have any applications open when you install new fonts, you will probably want to close them and reopen them again to make sure that all new fonts are properly activated.

You don't want to install too many fonts on your system because fonts can slow your computer down. If you notice that your computer is working slower than normal, and you have installed a lot of new fonts, you may want to uninstall a few that you do not need and restart the computer. Professional artists usually create font sets for each project. They only install or activate the set they need for the project and remove them once they move on to other things. It's a good habit to get into, and will help you maximize the effectiveness of your computer.





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