5 fonts you need to stop using (and 9 better swap-ins!)
Before I go any further, I am calling out these fonts because I see them being abused ALL THE MOTHERLOVIN’ TIME.
Am I saying you’re a dick for using them? No. The likelihood is that you don’t KNOW they’re being used everywhere else under the sun. But I know (and so will your clients).
I have so many of AWESOME people subscribed to my list and I want you and your business to look the best it can do, dammit! Choosing your design and branding consciously means you are much more likely to come across as the goddamn awesome, professional, unique business owners and blog authors that you are. (Oh, and P.S? That means more people wanting to give you the MONEY you deserve because you’ll be taken more seriously).
So, here is a list of the five fonts that need to be UPGRADED (and some good FREE options that you could replace them with. I know right?! Nothing more annoying than reading one of these lists and thinking, “Well. OK. Thanks for your snotty, elitist opinion, but what the fuck should I use instead?!”)
Without further ado…
Font crime # 1: Comic sans
Make the Font Police happy by using this instead: Good Dog
Oh God. I had to get this one out of the way. Comic Sans. Ugh.
Now, this font has its place. One of my dearest friends is a school teacher and uses this font for slides and lesson notes because it is pretty easy to read when printed and also, it has the added bonus of being installed on pretty much everyone’s computer, so students can open up documents that have been emailed to them and they look exactly the same. THAT is a situation where it’s completely acceptable to use.
On the web or in your branding? Uh, no. It’s a quasi-comic style and narrowly misses the “fun for kids” look. It’s used for local bake sales and nursery newsletters, but because it’s so overused, it doesn’t look professional. What it does look like, however, is that you have just discovered the font selection dropdown in Word for Windows 3.1 while listening to Right Said Fred’s greatest hits on tape.
If you’re looking for something that’s quite childlike, and has fun and a bit of rounded character, try Good Dog.
Font crime # 2: Lobster
This font is relatively new to the scene, but by CHRIST has it been popular. It’s a quirky, vintagey-yet-solid looking script typeface, and while there may be a few of you out there thinking, “Hang on, that’s one of the GOOD ones, isn’t it?”, then please know this; a font has been seriously overused when you see it on the back of a bus. First Buses in the UK use Lobster for what would appear to be ALL of their bus advertising. And the main isssue with it? It’s TOO distinctive. You can spot it from 20 paces, and because it was a freebie font, designers have just gone WILD with it. Check out this parody on Behance and you’ll see what I mean.
There are two alternatives here, one for the die hard Lobster fans, the slightly-less-well-used-yet-still-distinctive Lobster 2, or something with a great solid retro feel, Deftone Stylus. If you fancy being a bit flash-with-the-cash, try Thirsty as well.
Font crime # 3: Papyrus
Make the font police happy by using this instead: ANYTHING! ANYTHING ELSE!
I’m going out on a limb here: PAPYRUS IS FUCKING DISGUSTING.
There is only one reason I believe this typeface should be used ever, and that is this: “Because I am an 11 year old and I am preparing a project on the Egyptians for my schoolteacher”.
There are no other reasons this font should be used. ZERO REASONS, PEOPLE.
No, not because your restaurant menu needs to look “rustic”. No, not because your “with compliments” slip needs a bit of “tszujing” (who can say, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”?!). NO. It has no purpose except for the type of homework where you soak paper in tea and burn the edges to look like parchment.
As I can only assume you’d be using this for a dare, it’s hard to make a suggestion, BUT if you’re looking for something distinctive-yet-rustic, perhaps a little handwritten or “ancient manuscripty”, try Aquiline Two or Orchidee.
Font crime # 4: Bradley Hand ITC
Make the font police happy by using this instead: Angelina
I love a good handwritten font style as much as the next person. It adds a nice personal feel to a design if you break up large areas of text with a title or subheading in a typeface that looks as if it were penned by the designer.
However, Bradley Hand ITC looks nothing like handwriting. It’s a weird bastardisation of not-quite-handwriting, but different-to-Arial-and-Times-New-Roman. I mean, really, who dots their “i” like that?! NOBODY!
If you want to use a handwritten font style that’s still quite readable, I like Angelina.
Font crime #5: Curlz MT
Picture this: It’s 5pm on Christmas Day. You’ve noshed down your turkey dinner with all the trimmings, two helpings of Christmas pudding, five mince pies, three glasses (bottles?) of red wine, seventeen After Eight mints, one Buck’s Fizz, a cursory handful or twelve of bombay mix/pistachio nuts/Pringles/whatever your mum puts out to “tide you over until dinner” (because clearly that bag of chocolate coins you just scoffed down and the Christmas cake your nana brought over isn’t enough food) and a partridge in a pear tree. You’re watching Eastenders for the second time today, and those sprouts are starting to repeat on grandad who’s guffing silently in the corner as he snores. There is one word for this feeling, and it is “bleurgh”.
THAT FEELING IS CURLZ MT. It’s just too much. er, curliness, without a lot of style.
In summary, the problem with a lot of these over-used fonts isn’t actually the fact they’re over-used. (Well, not completely, anyway.)
It’s because they’re only going halfway with their style. Comic Sans is almost-comicy, but not quite. Bradley Hand is almost-handwriting-y, but something misses the mark.
Go all in and be brave with your font choices. Choose your style because it represents you (not because it sort of fits and more people will like it that way).
So tell me, what do YOU think? Any fonts you love using that should be used in place of something else? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to know!
Smooches, G x