Would you believe us if we said fonts have feelings too?
Sans-serif fonts that have rounded strokes express happy, friendly emotions, while sans-serif fonts that have hard edges come across as solid and strong. Sans-serif fonts convey informality and innovation.
Serif fonts (those with small hooks or lines attached) are sophisticated, conveying a sense of tradition and elegance. Fonts with serifs are appropriate for serious subjects, such as funeral service bulletins, death announcements, Scripture quotes, etc.
Exceptions to the serif “rule”
Like many things in design, there are no hard-and-fast rules. Not all serif fonts are serious. There are plenty of light-hearted fonts that have serifs. Some examples of serif fonts that want to have fun are Boyz R Gross, Curlz, My Underwood, Princetown and Stencil.
Light vs. bold fonts
The weight of the font also expresses feelings or creates perceptions. Light fonts convey femininity and beauty. And they seem more elegant than bolder fonts, which convey masculinity, power and strength.
Straight vs. slanted fonts
Straight (or Roman) fonts feel stable, rigid and durable. They feel grounded.
Slanted (or italic) fonts have a sense of movement or speed, much like a runner’s body leans forward in stride.
These fonts fit into two general subcategories: calligraphic and handwritten. Yes, both are technically handwritten, but the styles offer different emotions.
Calligraphic fonts are elegant and formal. They are ideal for use on formal invitations, such as for weddings. The font can be angular in style with sharp edges as found in Edwardian Script or Vivaldi. Others are flowing with few sharp edges, such as Grafolita or Scriptina.
Handwritten fonts are more informal and fun. They may look like they were made with a brush (Mistral, Thinking of Betty) or by a pen (Freestyle Script, True North Script).
What feelings or emotions do all the various sample fonts above elicit? What do they remind you of? How would you use them?
Choose a font — or a combination of fonts — that best fits the feelings and context you want to portray. And have fun exploring the possibilities.