I love typefaces

Fonts, for you tech folks.

Fonts are design in a little tiny box. Fonts tell a story at the same time they deliver the letters you need to tell your story. Fonts are usually underused (this ppt is in Arial, that Word doc is in Times, I’m done) or overused (oh, a ransom note!).

And sometimes, fonts are extremely expensive. Not overpriced, necessarily, but it adds up. So, thanks to Digg, it’s nice to find: Urban Fonts. Download Free Fonts and Free Dingbats for PC and MAC. Just like it says.

Here are my rules of thumb:

  • Headline fonts ought to be decorative but not ornate. Ornate looks cool on a font menu, but rarely pays off in heavy use.
  • In print, your body copy ought to have serifs, which are those little thingies on the edges of the letters in a font like Times (and missing in Helvetica). They make books look like books.
  • 2 distinctive fonts per page/document/site, please.
  • Powerpoints benefit from distinctive fonts more than any other document.
  • Subtlety matters. A font is a tool, not an amusement park ride.
  • On Planet 19 in the Arbur galaxy, particular fonts mean something different than they do here. But here, a font means what we’ve been trained to have it mean. So, when you pick a font, realize it comes with its own story. A wild west font, for example, is going to remind people of Will Bill Hickock whether you want it to or not. Pick a font to amplify or complement the story you’re trying to tell–without being so predictable that it’s a cliche. The Pixar logo would never have worked if they’d used a Disney typeface.
  • Don’t change fonts over time (at least not often). The right font becomes your handwriting.

PS at least six people wrote in to recommend dafont.