Thinking about the text’s voice

As I’ve played more and more with fonts, both in terms of trying to find good pairings and looking at different serif fonts for body copy.

Reading issue 61 of Coffee Table Typography brought some display fonts for titles to my attention. It also raised some interesting questions about the voice of a text and how do we convey that voice through typography and other elements specific to the web when crafting type and reading experiences online.

Two covers from Alfred Bester Novels using Serif Gothic

There are fonts that call immediate evoke a certain mood or feeling.

Look at the figure above of two book covers for works from Alfred Bester using Serif Gothic and other fonts in Science Fiction to see how you can create a “brand” or “identity” for your work.

Another excellent example of how can a typeface can affect the way we perceive or react to a visual display is Marvin. The page contains a wealth of information and shows you what you can do with the font.

An example postcard from the Marvin website

What is the text trying to say?

I think I finally understand now why editors, graphic designers and people involved with layout and typesetting are strongly encouraged to read the material. It helps you understand the voice of the text, what is it trying to tell the reader?

Take Handlee and Pacifico as the first examples. They both are handwritten fonts that give a more personal to the content.

Handlee is more playful and informal.

Example of Handlee Regular.

Pacifico is the opposite, more formal and what I would expect to see in a diploma or other formal documents.

Example of Pacifico font.

Looking matching fonts

Google Design’s Choosing Web Fonts: A Beginner’s Guide gives good guidance on how to select fonts and font pairings. It touches on a wide variety of topics regarding the fonts and the content you’re using them with.

Sites like Typewolf and Fontpair will show you what pairs of fonts look like when working together while Delta Fonts will tell you what font they thin a given item was made with.

Next steps

This is a bare first pass at working with fonts. To me, it’s an interesting and intriguing first pass and it has given me plenty of ideas about where to go next 🙂