Font Size and Style
As strange as it may be to hear, your font choice is likely one of the most important elements of making sure that your
artwork prints well. There are millions of different fonts available worldwide in every shape and style imaginable. However a font looking good on a computer screen does not necessarily mean it will look good in print. Computers are displaying your art as pixels instead of dealing with the physical reality of ink and paper. This can lead to drastic differences from your digital art to your final print if you don’t keep that in mind.
Here are a few of the major things we’ve noticed as printers.
This is one of the most important elements of selecting a font for printing. No matter what font you choose, size matters. Generally it’s recommended to make sure your fonts are around 10-12pt font. While this may vary from font to font 10-12 is the safe space where you can be fairly sure your font will be crisp and readable. Going below this starts to have an impact on the clarity of many fonts. This has to be taken on a case-by-case basis but generally the thinner or more complex the font the worse it will look when shrunken down. Even for fairly simple fonts we do not recommend going beneath 7pt font and even that is stretching to the absolute limit of most font choices. Information that is intended to be small, such as trademarks or copyright, can go to 6pt depending on the font but generally 7pt is the limit.
Keep size in mind when laying out your artwork. If you’re ordering a 1.5 inch label then you have a lot less room to work with and should focus only on essential text or a simple logo. In comparison a full-sized flyer has plenty of room and you should have little trouble making everything legible.
It’s important to note that how a font looks on your screen is not necessarily an accurate representation of how your font will print. Computers and printing don’t always match up, especially as computers do not share a universal resolution or clarity. It’s important to consider how something will look physically printed. Thin and flowing text might look great on a screen but it can end up looking merely insubstantial on a printed product unless it is large enough. When deciding on a font to use make sure that you consider how it scales. If you are designing something to represent your brand and intended to keep consistent looks over all your items you want to make sure it looks as good on a business card as it would on a banner.
Font color can also have a significant impact on readability and visual design. Something that pops on a computer screen might just end up being a bit of a headache on printed media. It’s important to keep your font choices clear and consistent. Try to avoid colors that blend into one another or are too similar to your background. Avoid using ‘multicolored’ fonts unless you are doing something large like a poster or banner. Try not to change colors too often within your text to help make sure the colors remain consistent and avoid your art being cluttered.
It’s always worth double checking your fonts and your art to make sure you’re happy. However a good rule of thumb is just “keep it simple.” Don’t go for overly complex font choices unless you’re 100% confident they will print well. At the end of the day it doesn’t help for something to look great unless it’s also going to print great.