Whether you are redesigning your website, company creatives or running new advertisements, graphic design will probably have to be outsourced. Here at Curve, we employ a team of experienced graphic designers for our clients projects because design is one of the most important aspects of a client’s marketing campaign and one the hardest to do without professional help.

That being said, we always want clients input in order to design the best creative that represents your personality and business. One decision that is often overlooked, but is extremely important in creating the right design is the type choice.

The one thing that all of your visual ads will probably have in common is their use of type. The whole point of your advertising campaign is to increase publicity and sales and to do that you need to inform potential consumers what your business is about. While some companies can promote their business with a visual and logo (e.g. Nike and McDonald’s), it is an extremely small club. Most likely you will need to include written content in your ad to help promote your company.

Font Choice:  Serifs or Sans Serifs?

There are literally thousands of available typefaces to choose from for your ad (with more being created each day). While this section will help you how to decorate your ad with type it’s important to go with what you like. Your ad represents your company, and the same goes true with the type you use for your ad. The one thing you must remember is that the reader should notice the message, not the type! Don’t use a type that distracts the reader from the message. This includes using outlandish and garish typefaces that are meant to shock as well as overly pretty typefaces.  Most popular typefaces can be placed into two categories: Serif and Sans Serif.

Font – Serif:

Serif fonts are typefaces that have tails and flags at the end and tips of their letters. Serif fonts include Times New Roman, Garamond, Baskerville and Cambria. Serif fonts are decorative and are seen as classical.

Studies have shown that serif fonts are the easiest to read on paper. The flourishes of serif fonts mimic handwriting and allow readers to quickly recognize the letters. This is why you usually find them used in the body of printed works such as books, newspapers and magazines.

Font – Sans Serif:

Sans Serif fonts do not have tails, flags or flourishes. Studies have shown that sans serif fonts are easier to read on computer screens than serif fonts. Computer screens may distort the size of the details on the strokes of serif fonts.

Serif fonts are often used for headlines and titles in regular print and are the de facto standard for on-screen and online body texts.

Free Fonts

Looking to use some new fonts? The following are the 20 best websites for downloading free fonts (Source:

  1. 1001 Free Fonts
  2. 1001 Fonts
  3. Fontfreak
  4. SketchPad
  5. Fontstruct
  6. Highfonts
  7. FontEx
  9. Urban Fonts
  10. Dafont

TIP! Never use more than three fonts for your advertisement

Using Fonts to Express Your Ad

Ellen Lupton, author of Thinking With Type, created a layout of body types for text layout. The author divided the different types into Headline, Subheads, Text and Captions

HEADLINES (in Garamond)

The Headline should be slim, tall and fancy. It should breath and stretch and  shouldn’t  be bolded(16-point font or larger)

SUBHEADS (in Baskerville)

The Subhead should be shorter than the headline. It should be less fancy than the headline but not as utilitarian as the text for the body. (Between 15 and 17-point font)

TEXT (in Times New Roman)

The Text is readable and purposeful. Its main purpose is to fulfill a goal. Let the Headline and Subhead be the star of the ad. (10 or 11-point font)

Captions (in Bolded Century Schoolbook)

The Captions need to standout with limited available space Bold the captions so they have a maximum impact in the smallest amount of real estate. (Between 13 and 16-point font)

If you want to learn more about type design, pick up a copy of Ellen Lupton’s foundational, Thinking With Type