If the face fits

I started this exercise by creating a sample book of typefaces on my computer.

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I was then asked to identify which fonts I might use in a variety of commissions. For each one I decided to try several versions with fonts I felt were suitable for the project and then I produced one version where I substituted the typefaces with the ones I had used for one of the other commissions. This was all to see how different fonts change the feel of the text and influence the overall tone and message of the design.

  1. A short story in a woman’s magazine entitled ‘I thought I loved him; now I’m not so sure.’

For this commission I was looking for a combination of typefaces that could give a modern, feminine feel to reflect the type of magazine, were easily readable for the smaller body text and felt quite personal and soft in order to help the audience to connect to the story. I looked at cursive script fonts as an option for introducing a handwritten style of writing in a diary and decorative fonts designed for love. 

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I think this is the most successful of my examples. It reflects the romance and the change of pace you would look for in a woman’s magazine article. I think that the boldness of the second part of the statement grabs your attention. The title in an article like this needs to tell a story in and of itself but the font adds depth and focus to the story which draws the reader in.

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This one has a very similar feel to the first one but I think the curly handwritten style of the text would be more suitable for a teen article.The tone of the article needs to be a little more grown up for a women’s magazine.

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The layout worked quite well here but there doesn’t seem quite enough contrast between the typefaces to give you an idea of what you are going to read and what the focus will be.

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The first font in the heading could possibly work here but the second font leads the reader more toward a tale of horror more than lost love. The body text is difficult to read and the whole piece felt more like something from a comic than a women’s magazine.

2. An advertisement in a parish magazine asking for more helpers on the flower rota

For this commission I wanted delicate and serif fonts to give a traditional and artistic feel to the advert. I found quite a few decorative flowery fonts but they weren’t suitable as the legibility of the text was lost when I tried them. I read in an article that Baskerville was deemed to be the most persuasive typeface which seemed relevant for an advert asking for help. Overall I was looking for a combination of typefaces that were slightly more old fashioned and gentle.  

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I think a parish magazine needs to get the message across without being pushy and the fonts in this example managed the strength of message without being too forceful. With a Parish magazine the average age of readers is likely to be quite mature and both of the fonts are easy to read . The first one in particular is bold but still has a certain softness that conveys the artistic nature of the request.

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I think these fonts work well too but the thicker strokes of the heading font lacks the softness of the example above. The bold text does work well as a call to action though. The subheading font is not quite as legible and could be accused of being slightly jarring.

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Using a much lighter font with thin strokes for the heading loses the impetus to read the text and respond to the appeal. The fonts here are artistic and soft and set an appropriate tone for the advert but seem to blend and melt into the background making it less successful at attracting attention.

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The typeface for the heading competes and creates tension with the border and is not very legible. The subheading feel less like a plea for help and more like a disordered and alienating statement.

3. A poster to advertise an after-school club for boys aged 13-14

I researched examples of fonts used in publications for teenagers and found them mainly to be geometric sans serifs. I looked at a lot of fonts which had a digitalised style and some slab-serifs such as ‘Klein Slabserif’ which was used in the publicity artwork for the teenage film ‘Divergant’ series. Some of the fixed width, techno and pixel fonts in my sample typeface book looked like possible options for the computer text. The selection of fonts in the graffiti style seemed to be perfect for the intended audience as they are youthful, fun and synonymous with feelings of disaffection and boredom.  

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The fonts here work well as they are fun, easy to read and the key information jumps out at you. I think it hints at the fact that if kids aren’t at this club they could be getting into trouble, which would resonate with parents. The font that poses the question “feeling got at?” really stands out which will highlight it to the target audience which is important. The sans serif, decorative and handwritten fonts are modern and give the design a youthful feel.

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Changing the size and typeface of the subheadings makes the key questions in this example pop out a little less successfully. The heading font has more of a grunge feel which could be more suitable for older teenagers than 13-14yr olds.

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The similarity in the fonts used to describe the activities on this example makes it seem too much like a list. On the other two designs different activities seem to pop out at you each time you read it as a result of the contrast between the fonts. The fonts on this one don’t feel as though they reflect the emotions they are describing. The cursive script font is incongruous with the notion of feeling got at.

4. Your friend’s engagement party – they want a flyer A5 size to send to their friends as if advertising a club night 

Selecting the typefaces for this commission was slightly more tricky and I felt there were two contrasting messages to be conveyed. The first was the softer, more traditional association to an engagement and the second the idea of a club night. I looked at a lot of grunge/electro and party style fonts alongside more traditional serifs.

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The fonts are clear yet soft enough here that they work well to give the right feel for an engagement invite. There is a touch of romance but also excitement. The contrast between the sans serif font for the heading and the serif used for the remaining information creates a feeling of modernity and fun combined with the elegance and tradition of a wedding. Using all caps and a bold font in the banner looks formal without being over the top and it tells a story of anticipation and invites you to feel as though the anticipation is now officially over.

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The electro and digitalised fonts used in this example definetly creates the tone of a club night but perhaps fail to convey the main message of an engagement announcement. The colour and strength of the heading font due to its geometric blunt corners and the capitalisation loses the message of the invite I think. It would depend if the client wanted to focus the tone of the flyer on the style of the party itself or on the idea of an engagement generally.

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The heading font is a decorative party style font which I thought might be good on a design of this type but interestingly it doesn’t work at all. It is very difficult to read and doesn’t readily convey meaning or tone. The font in the banner looks a little like police tape which doesn’t give the right vibe for an engagement. The cursive subheading font is attractive and creates a better tone for the engagement announcement but doesn’t quite work for a club night poster.

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