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Infographic Design Principles: Fonts

Include too few typefaces, and your infographic could feel boring. Include too many, and you run the risk of making it look like a ransom note. A general guideline is to use no more than three typefaces in your design.

Here are some basic things to keep in mind about fonts.

First of all, make sure the font you choose is readable. This sounds like an obvious rule, but as you experiment with different typefaces, you will discover that some fonts are most legible in large sizes, but become muddled or crowded in smaller point sizes. Check your fonts both on the computer screen and on paper because sometimes what looks great onscreen doesn’t translate as well to print documents.

Make the most of the fonts that come with your computer and the software you’ve already purchased. For example, the latest version of Adobe Illustrator comes with about 90 fonts. Adobe also sells add-on sets that could add dozens more fonts to your toolbox. Even Microsoft Word has dozens of fonts to choose from.

After you own these programs, you can use the fonts in any way you like — for personal projects, or for work that you intend to sell, like your infographic.

But if you actually read your End User License Agreement, you’ll discover that what you can’t do is give that font away to anyone else. As an infographic designer, a good way to prevent anyone from copying your font is to embed it in your work.

Embedding is a way to transmit and publish your file without leaving the font accessible to others who might snatch it up for their own use.

And, a word on cost. The fonts that come with your software program certainly aren’t free, but when you bought the program, you bought those fonts. If you want to add to your collection by purchasing fonts individually from font designers or various design websites, you may pay $25 to $100 per font.

Is it really worth getting your heart set on one of these? It’s also possible that the designer hasn’t cleared the font for commercial use, which could land you in legal trouble.

Certainly, if your client wants an exclusive font, you must use it, but you may be able to include it in your bill for the project. Ask about this when you’re negotiating your pay.

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