How do designers pick typefaces?

Designers seem to be able to always choose the perfect font from a huge selection with seemingly no effort or error. Is it creative intuition? Or is there a science behind why it is better to use Arial or Calibri instead of Lucina Handwriting and Comic Sans?

The answer is: it is a little of both. A designer likely goes into their field based on their strong sense of creative intuition, and slowly learns that there is, in fact, a theory behind the creation and use of typefaces.

Consider Readability

Back in the old days when papers were written by hand, it was important for the writer to use a nice, neat handwriting. Just because they might have the ability to pen a great bubble font did not mean that they necessarily should use it. It isn’t much different on the computer. Fonts with lots of sheriffs, blocks, shadows and curls look pretty and artistic, but should be limited to the headers and highlights of any document or web page at most. Professional works should be sans most font quirks, no matter how esthetically pleasing they might be.

Fonts’ Contribution to Theme

Now that you have limited your palette of potential fonts down to those in the class of Arial, Helvetica and Tahoma, it is time to narrow them a bit more.

Uniformity is very important in contributing to a great theme, especially on a blog. While we may not think of the font as much as we think of the color and shape of the decorative images around the border, it is still very important. In fact, most internet pages and documents are primarily made up of words, and having a font that you use consistently can only help your theme become more memorable to readers.

A General Tip:

If it makes your eyes jump, or if it is difficult to focus on reading a whole line, then it might be a sign to change your typeface. A font with generous spacing between letters and words is better than a narrow font where everything blends together.

Overall, if you have found a font that is a little more on the funky side than it is on the traditionally readable side, don’t worry. If you can read it with ease, chances are your readers will, too. The most important thing is to consider the rules and use your gut to make the final decision.