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Using Gothic Styles Without Looking Like You're Advertising for Halloween

written by: KateG•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 12/31/2009

Gothic styles have gotten a reputation for being limited . Most of us only use them at Halloween. They are much more versatile than that. If you want some more options, this piece can help.

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    When it comes to projects that embody the Gothic style we often think of a certain fall holiday. You know the one. It has kids in costumes, loads of candy, and pumpkins carved to look suspiciously like a human face. That’s a shame. The Gothic style can be used for a lot of other applications, though its recent typecasting may have led a lot of people to believe otherwise. Today, we are going to look at ways that the Gothic style can be resurrected, and taken from a one-trick pony graphic to a year-round staple.

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    Watch Your Colors and Images

    When it comes to Gothic styles it is very easy to pair black with an orange or red. While relying on the traditional fall color scheme may make you comfortable, it is also very limiting. The Gothic style can be used with less traditional colors to create a very different effect. Let’s say, for example, that you were designing an invitation for a Christmas party. You could use a Gothic font in a charcoal gray. If you were to pair it with red and green, or even silver and blue you could create a classy and grown-up feeling that would not remind anyone of trick-or-treat. Granted, using Gothic styles in the summer months can be more challenging, but even this is merely a matter of picking the correct event. The Gothic font could be used on a wedding invitation, perhaps with the classic fairytale castle, to conjure up classic romance instead of horror. In this case the color scheme would be the same as the wedding invitations. The trick in both of these examples is context. You don’t want the Gothic font to be the most noticeable element of the project. You want it to blend with everything else to create a unified document. This is diametrically opposite of most hollowing style uses of the Gothic font, where it’s meant to stand out.

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    Keep Your Size Reasonable

    In Halloween projects it is not unusual for Gothic font to be oversized, again to make it stand out. In this case you want to treat a highly stylized font the way you would treat a more standard font. Remember, in this case the words are a team player, not the star. Don’t go too small as to be unreadable, but don’t unnecessarily upsize or bold words.

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    They can use those “Halloween” Fonts all year round. No longer do some of your prettiest types of text have to languish eleven months of the year.