Wireframe Planning: Follow the Three-Font Rule with Your Infographic

By Justin Beegel, MBA, The Infographic World Team

Variety is the spice of good design, but when it comes to fonts, the wise designer knows when enough is enough. Your infographic is at risk of looking like a ransom note or community newsletter if you use more than three typefaces.

Choose font families that have several options for weights to help you to create a seamless flow because your typefaces will fit together. This will keep you from needing to choose another typeface for a specific purpose. In general, opting for a serif, sans serif, and special display typeface should provide you with plenty of variation to make your infographic eye catching.

When combining typefaces, don’t simply pick randomly or choose fonts that you personally prefer. You should have a good reason for choosing the fonts you choose. To that end, these guidelines can help you pick fonts:

  • Use typefaces that provide complementary moods to reinforce the overall feel of your infographic, whether it’s upbeat or more somber. For example, don’t use a whimsical font for a serious topic.

  • Avoid using fonts that are too similar to each other; this creates visual dissonance and can be seen by readers as a mistake. By the same token, don’t choose typefaces that are wildly disparate, as are those shown in this figure.

    image0.jpg

  • Use distinctive fonts, but not everywhere. If you want to use a very dramatic font, make sure the typefaces around it are more neutral.

  • When in doubt, stick with two typefaces that provide a huge range of weights and choices. A well-chosen pairing should give you all the fonts you need. See the following figure.

    image1.jpg

Chances are that your boss, or the client who hired you, is willing to take a look at your wireframe at this point, too. Take the opportunity to find out whether you’re on the right track, and whether all those elements you’ve sketched out are leading the reader to the right conclusion.

If you aren’t, it’s a lot easier to make changes at the wireframe stage than during the creation of the infographic itself.

If you’re working with a client, you may want to establish early whether she wants to approve your wireframe. Taking a little extra time to share your vision and make sure it’s in line with the client’s needs can save hours of work later on.