- Have you been thinking more about your “stuff”?
- Have you been sharing nicely? ?
In this week’s Talk About Talk email blog, we talk and learn about FONTS!
(You can skim this short email or dive in to the many links to learn more!)
? PODCAST #18:
FONTS, TYPOGRAPHY & EMOJIs
with Patrick Griffin
For this week’s podcast, I found THE guy.
The FONT guy, that is!
I asked my editor-friend Kelly if she knows a FONT expert. She recommended someone who then recommended Patrick Griffin. Patrick arrived for the interview wearing a t-shirt reading “Helvetica” across his chest in a very “Metallica” font, and driving a Cadillac with “FONT GUY” on the license plate.
Talk About first impressions – I had a feeling this was going to be a fun interview. I was right. Patrick also really knows his stuff. Patrick is a founding partner at Canada Type and has designed too many fonts to count. You have probably seen some of those fonts on public transit and street signs. He also designs fonts for banks, consumer packaged goods, and the major movie studios!
More and more of our communication happens from behind a keyboard,
right? So, of course, FONTS MATTER! Our font choice can help us become more effective communicators. For starters, Patrick implored me to “stop using system fonts that ship with our software” (like Helvetica. But I like Helvetica!). He also shared some very useful advice:
1. When choosing a font, consider the audience and the context
- Take yourself out of the equation. Be objective. Avoid your favourite font!
- Avoid the generic fonts that ship with your software.
- Think about adjectives to describe the project or the takeaways of the document. Then find a font that embodies those adjectives.
- Consider the age and preferences of your audience.
- Usually, serif fonts are considered more traditional. Sans serif fonts are considered more modern.
2. White Space Matters
- When choosing a font, don’t just look at the black marks on the page. Consider the white space too.
- If you are seeking to communicate that something is bigger or more “airy,” use a sans-serif font and avoid the serifs. Serifs are ornamental and take up space.
3. The font should complement the message
- The font should communicate clearly, but ideally it should not be noticed. Your audience should be so immersed in the content that they don’t even notice the font. (Consider the similarly implicit influence of colour.)
- Use two fonts maximum in any document. As Patrick says, “You can’t change horses on people all the time!” If you are using two fonts: use one for the headings and one for the body; and use one SERIF font and one SANS SERIF font
FONT QUOTES WORTH TALKING ABOUT
When Patrick and I were seated across the table during the interview, Patrick kept pointing out fonts and font flaws – on a pad of paper, on his phone, everywhere! (Wait til you hear Patrick’s story about the note he received from his son’s school about a school bus accident… the note was written in COMIC SANS. Patrick had a thing or two to say about that!)
Since that interview I have become much more aware of the implicit but powerful ways that fonts communicate.
What is YOUR FAVOURITE font? And WHY? I would ❤️to know! Email me or comment on social media to let me know. Personally, I love Helvetica, even though Patrick says we shouldn’t use system fonts. It’s clean, modern, and easy to read. Perhaps a bit boring though. Maybe I will start adding a SERIF font in the headings…? What do you think?
One last thing: If you have any friends or colleagues who might also be interested in Talk About Talk, please forward this email or send them this link and encourage them to sign-up for the weekly email blog. I THANK YOU very much! (Yes, I will send them the coveted “season one” cheat sheets too!)
Have a great week.
Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Founder & Chief Talker – Talk About Talk Inc.
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