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Helpful Tools for Great Sign Design: Fonts

The best message can be ruined by a poor font choice, so when you’re designing a custom sign to promote your business, choose your fonts carefully. There are a variety of font characteristics to consider, from legibility to weight to kerning. Unless you have a background in graphic design, these terms probably mean nothing to you. Since font can be directly tied to your business branding and the effectiveness of your advertising, I’ve gathered some great resources to help you choose the perfect font for your business signs.

The first step in the font selection process is to write your message. Don’t worry about your font choice, just get your content down. Yes, different fonts will make your content look different, but if you know exactly what you want to say it will be easier to choose how it should look.

Once you have written your message, do a little research on different types of fonts and their different characteristics. Here are some helpful articles that aren’t too high-level.

Douglas Bonneville of Smashing Magazine identifies some of the main characteristics you should consider, and shows great examples. Pay close attention to the section on aesthetics—you want the font displayed on your signs to match the look and feel of your business.



This article by Juan Pablo de Gregorio of Typies Blog has great tips for choosing a font. Juan breaks down all the elements of fonts and shows pictures of each for you visual folks. I know you’ve always wanted to know what kerning means, so here’s your chance…


Now that you’ve gotten an idea of the different elements of fonts, here’s another important read. It’s also quite humorous, which will lighten up the weight (no pun intended) of this post. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: America's Most Fonted.

Lauren’s take on overused fonts is hilarious, slightly-inappropriate (you’ve been warned), and, above all, completely TRUE. Stay away from these fonts if you want to look at all unique and/or relevant.




Ok, ok, so enough lecturing—now it’s time to play around with fonts and choose the one that’s right for you! Here are some sites that offer thousands of great fonts to choose from.


Finally, if you’ve seen a font before and you’ve always wanted to know what it is, check out the What the Font? Feature on MyFonts.com. Here’s an example I did using the Twitter logo:

By now you should be an expert on font selection. That means we don’t want to see any more Comic Sans, Curlz MT, or for heaven’s sake, Papyrus! Are we clear?
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