Updated: Apr 13
When designing artwork a key factor to consider if the font, here is some key advice on the best fonts to use in print and online.
You may think that a message's font is just the font and you choose based on what you like the best and that’s that. But there are some fonts and typeface that are thought to be better suited to the channel they're being used, whether it's for print, online or email.
A brief summary of font history
The first movable type for the printing press was invented by Johanners Gutenberg in 1440.
As the genre of print grew and overtook manual manuscript copying, typographers experimented with new ways to make inked text ever more elegant and readable creating serif fonts.
With the dawn of the digital age, computer screens and word processors made it necessary to adapt print typefaces so they would still be legible in digital form.
Programmers initially accomplished this by rendering letter shapes via mathematical equations embedding in their coding. This didn’t always produce the sharpest letter shapes, especially for serifed fonts, Rasterisation and phototypesetting did little better at achieving clearly legible characters.
To avoid a fuzzy appearance, digital typesetters often preferred sans-serif fonts, which contained fewer details to render.
Key differences between serif and sans serif fonts
Serif fonts can be distinguished by their embellishments and feet on the tip and base of each letter. Times New Roman, Courier and Garamond are all serif fonts.
San Serif fonts are more simple as they are without the embellishments that serif fonts have. Helvetica, Arial and Verdana are all San serif fonts.
The best fonts for print
Nearly all books, newspapers and magazines use serif font such as Times New Roman, Garamond and Courier mentioned earlier which are amongst some of the more popular ones used. For printed material serif fonts are easier for the reader to read and absorb the information and make the words flow much better.
The best fonts for online
Arial, Verdana and Georgia are tried and tested but with greater screen resolution and software these days than when these decisions were made about best fonts the blurring between which fonts are considered best for print vs digital has never been more prevalent.
The most popular fonts.
Helvetica is a Sans Serif which has been around since 1957 and is used by Microsoft and Evian. It's clean and simple in design making it easy to read. Helvetica is so popular that there is even a movie about it.
Designed by Matthew Carter in 1996. This sans serif font is used by big brands such as PayPal. Intended to easy to read on-screen as well as off in both large and small fonts. Verdana is a very versatile font.
Very popular for magazines, textbooks and website Garamond is a serif font which has many variations.
Fonts to avoid
No two fonts are the same, they all have their own distinct characters and qualities. These are some fonts to avoid using, with so many other fonts available it shouldn't be hard.
Comic sans appeals to a younger audience it was once loved but it is now a no go for most designers.
The main issue with Segoe Script is that its hard to read and isn't easily compatible with other fonts.
Bradley Hand ITC
Designed to look like a clean handwriting style font that adds a personal touch to a sans serif font. Unfortunately, it is ineligible due to its thinness.
There are hundreds of thousands of fonts to choose from, step out from Arial and Times roman and try a bit of Palatino and Chalfont and see the visual effect it has on your direct mail and email campaigns. If you are getting ready to design your artwork we have a range of print specifications to help.