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Font Policies: How to Make Your Business Look Bigger

written by: Thursday Bram•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 9/29/2009

Something as simple as the fonts you use for business letters, brochures, and other business materials can play a big role in how professional your company looks. If you put a font policy into place, you can be sure that your fonts make your business look bigger.

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    Mix and Match Fonts

    Small businesses tend to use word processing software like Microsoft Word for the majority of desktop publishing projects. Those can range from business cards to business letters and provide the first impression of your business for most of your clients. The problem is that because most businesses just use templates and existing documents to create those business materials, there's a good chance that they include a variety of different fonts — and maybe a few fonts that don't provide the best impression of a company. If there's no policy in place to make sure that everyone uses the same fonts for every dekstop publishing project, clients can wonder if your materials really all come from the same business as well as just how professional you are.

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    A Font Policy

    The easy fix for the problem of mixing and matching fonts is a font policy: a decision laying out just what fonts you want to use in any projects related to the business. For most businesses, the problem isn't that everyone involved with the process of creating marketing materials wants to pick their own fonts. Instead, it's simply a matter that they don't have any guidance on what they should choose. Having a list of fonts that can be used on projects related to your business can even speed up desktop publishing projects because you don't have to compare fonts, trying to make a decision on which to use.

    A font policy can be fairly simple: it doesn't need to be much more than a list of which fonts can be used in the various documents and projects your business produces, with the possible addition of a description on how to use those fonts. If, for instance, you use a specific font in your logo, you can list that font in your font policy. But the odds are good that you don't want anyone to use that font to set an entire business letter in. Instead, you may want to pick a font or two you know that everyone in your business has access to, such as Times New Roman and Helvetica and limit your projects to those fonts.

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    Exceptions to Policy

    There will be some exceptions to your font policy, of course: if you're putting together an ad meant to catch eyes, you may make use of a fancier font than Times New Roman in order to highlight important text. It may be worth adding a more decorative font or two to your font policy for just that purpose. Fonts that you've used in your logo are a good place to start.

    But it's worth making a point to keep all the plainer text to the fonts listed in your policy: as long as you've chosen an easy-to-read font, your prospective clients will have an easier time reading your material and may come to associate certain fonts with your business. Furthermore, within standard projects, it is important to stick to your usual fonts. It's an easy way to avoid using unprofessional fonts or fonts that don't create the image you want associated with your business, as well as making your business look more professional and able to handle bigger projects.