5 Types of Fonts and How to Use Them in Graphic Design

5 Types of Fonts and How to Use Them in Graphic Design

Fonts, or Typeface (as they are commonly known in graphic designing), may not come across as an important aspect for successful visual communication. However, they are very crucial.

More than almost any other design element, fonts deliver both message and feeling to your viewers almost instantaneously, so it’s really important to pick the right type of font.

And that’s precisely what we’ll be discussing today in this article.

Today, we have hundreds of different types of fonts available at our disposal. This makes it all the more complicated to decide and pick the right kind of font type for your design project. Be it for your website, emails, newsletters, or creative posts, having the right type of font style is crucial and helps in setting a brand image as well.

Largely, there are 5 types in which typefaces can be categorized. Let’s take a look at all of these font types and see which one would fit your requirements.

Serif Fonts

font types for graphic design

The term ‘serif’ denotes small feet on the top as well as bottom of every letter in a typeface. The Serif fonts are arguable the oldest type of fonts with traces of its application going back to the 15th century. They are considered to be the classic, old fashioned style of typeface and are one of the most trusted fonts globally.

Serif fonts can be broken down even further into several subcategories;

  • Old Style,
  • Classical,
  • Neo-Classical,
  • Transitional,
  • Clarendon, etc.

As a regular reader one might group them all together, however, a professional designer can explain that subtle differences between the weight, ascended heights, and shape of the actual serif; giving you clues to what era it was created in.

Companies which like to reflect themselves as suave and sophisticated brands lean towards this type of font for their designs. Logos with these types display an air of tradition, respectability, and reliability. Also, organizations in academic, editorial, and financial fields favor serif fonts thanks to the conservative and respectable appearance they give off.

Zara, Tiffany & Co, Abercrombie & Fitch, to name a few, are the popular brands which use Serif fonts consistently.

Slab Serif Fonts

font types for graphic design

Unlike the serif fonts,  

Some Slab Serif font types are

  • Clarendon,
  • Playbill,
  • Museo Slab,
  • Bw Glenn Slab, 
  • Martini Thai Neue Slab,
  • Arkibal Serif

Slabs convey a sense of confidence, dependability, and creative thought thanks to their heavy lines and less delicate serifs. Organizations attempting to make a big splash, or indicate how innovative their ideas and products are, choose slab serif types as they can help communicate a sense of importance and need. Some famous brands which adequately make use of slabs are Sony, Honda, and Volvo.

Sans Serif Fonts

font types for graphic design

"Sans" comes from the French vocabulary which means "without"; and that is exactly what this category is—typefaces without serifs. They date back to the 19th century and became immensely popular in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Sans serif fonts can also be broken down into several subcategories, including

  • Grotesque,
  • Square,
  • Geometric, and
  • Humanistic styles

These modern letter forms are aimed for high legibility at long distances.Twenty years ago, using sans serif for body copy was a no-no. We've come a long way from then. Nowadays you can find magazines using sans serif as body copy. If you want to get a message across clearly, use sans serifs as display fonts.

These types of fonts emphasize readability and simplicity for a more scalable look and provide a cleaner and modern style of writing. They provide more clarity, with a forward-thinking approach. But, thanks to their polished and efficient design, they can also be bold and used as attention-getters. Companies that pick this font family prioritize a sense of sensibility and honesty that has no need for flourishes or flair.

Some famous brands which comply with Sans serif fonts are LinkedIn, Calvin Klein, and The Guardian.

Script Fonts

font types for graphic design

Remember the cursive style of handwriting we were taught in the earlier days of school? Yea! Well, that’s script font style for you. Largely, the script font style is divided into two forms;

  • Formal
  • Casual

Talking about the formal script fonts first, as the name suggests, they are the fanciest. These elegant typefaces are used on wedding invitations and diplomas. Some main characteristics of these types of fonts are:

  • Inspired by handwriting from the 17th and 18th century, scripts are cursive.
  • All the characters include a connecting end tail for fluidity. 
  • Flourishes and swashes are a big part of cursive fonts to adorn the characters. 
  • Use formal script typefaces in historical-themed books, wedding invitations, or romance book covers. 

Casual scripts, on the other hand, were developed in the 20th century and resemble less the work of calligraphers and more of sign painters. They work well for anything which resembles fun and casual feel including logos, posters, and pamphlets.

Some famous brands which use script fonts are Instagram, Coca-Cola, and Cadillac.

Decorative Fonts

font types for graphic design

Decorative fonts, also known as the ‘display fonts’, are rarely used for long strings of text. They are not suitable for body copy as they become illegible. These typefaces are best used for headlines, logos, very short copy, or for emphasis only. Most of these typefaces are developed with a specific use in mind. Different types of tattoo fonts, graffiti style fonts, and many more can be included in this category. 

Some common examples of for these types of fonts include

  • Morning Glory, 
  • Burnout,
  • Carter Layered, and 
  • Pittsbrook

The flexibility which these fonts carry allows companies to choose the emotions they need to focus on by mixing and matching different styles. Some of the most common emotions include a sense of casual, fun, and creative thought. They can also evoke culture-specific memes, or characteristics or themes reminiscent of a certain time period.

Some famous brands that follow these types of fonts religiously for their design works are Lego, Toys R’ Us, and Fanta.

We hope this discussion may have helped you understand the importance of selecting the right types of fonts for your business. Fonts provide an identity to your brand and therefore it should be taken care of that which font style compliments your brand message. By finding the right blend of types and design elements, your brand can communicate the story of your company the way it was meant to be told.

If you are not sure about which font would work best for your design works, and eventually your firm’s branding, speak with us today at support@graphicszoo.com.