The Delicate Choice of a Typography
The choice of a typography is necessarily linked to our subjectivity, but not only! Certainly, this is one way to choose typography, but it is not the most rational or even the most judicious way. We cannot totally erase our share of subjectivity in the choices we make, and it would be a mistake not to take it into account, however, we can start by questioning ourselves about the values we want to express through the “image” aspect of a typography (gluttony and generosity for example, simplicity and modernity…).
Thus, to choose a typography, we can rely on its font family, its serif or not, its style, its weight, the shape of the characters that compose it and especially the concepts it suggests. You have to be able to read it, decipher it and question it in order to bring out all that it connotes (positive and negative), always having in mind its final destination, its future usefulness, its context and its reason. For example: a font for the title of a cookbook which will be on a yellow background, the "image" aspect and the values it conveys should guide us in the relevance of our choice.
We can then examine the different typographies available to us: by exploring the fonts already installed on our computer or on specialized websites, there are some which offer a free download (such as Google Fonts or dafont.com) and others with payment (for example fonts.com or myfonts.com).
But this choice goes further, it will be necessary to observe the interaction of the letters of the font in a word, a sentence or a paragraph; it will be necessary to test the typography under different aspects, by varying its size, its weight (light, bold…), its colour, in capital or in italics… To find out if it works well for headings, for text paragraphs, for quotes, or on coloured backgrounds… That is to say in all cases it might encounter. This exercise then makes it possible to bring out certain observations, limits, or questions, such as having to use two different fonts to ensure better prioritization and readability of the content and accentuate the desired evocations.
However, the evocative and aesthetic aspect of a typography must sometimes be put aside due to technical constraints. For example, a strong contrast between the full and the hairlines of a font will not always be adequate to display on screen (hairlines may not display well, or even be invisible). Just like the space constraint of a medium which can lead us to choose narrower characters called “condensed”, in order to optimize the space as much as possible.
Another question that should not be underestimated: what will be the final support for typography and, above all, will it be available in different supports (leaflet, poster, magazine, web, video, tv, smartphone, tablet, etc.)? After all, a font that works well on paper may not work as well on screen. When creating a visual identity or a multi-media campaign, knowing how to choose the appropriate character set is essential.
Finally (although this is obvious, it is worth remembering), it is also important to take into account the target, to know who the final communication medium is intended for. For example, for children, we will favour a rather playful font (flexible, round, dynamic); while for the elderly, we will choose more an impactful typography (a wide hunt with a voluntarily increased body).
The more detailed the project is, the easier it is for us to make relevant typographical choices.