Despite the fact that our computers are stuffed with all manner of fonts, it is best not to use too many at once. Pick a legible typeface with a variety of weights and it will serve you well for copy, mastheads and box-outs alike. If you find that too restrictive, then pick one – and only one – additional font that you can use for decorative text such as headlines, subheadings and captions. It should still be readable at a wide range of point sizes.
Rather than adjust each typographic element individually, it is best to set up consistent paragraph styles that enable you to make quick changes that will update throughout the document. As a starting point, define custom paragraph styles for the following elements:
- Headline - the large heading that introduces the article
- Subheading - a smaller headline that adds depth
- Lead paragraph - the first paragraph of the story, which is often set in a larger point size and may have a drop capital at the beginning.
- Body copy - the style used for the bulk of the article.
- Box-out - a particular quote or paragraph that might catch the eye of a reader skimming through the magazine and encourage them to read the full article, or sums up the spirit of the piece.
- Caption - for adding details to any pictures or diagrams.
Obviously, this list isn't exhaustive, but it covers the basic elements of magazine design. As you make your own spreads, you will find other elements that are specific to your work. Defining type styles ensures consistent formatting throughout.
This example uses Eras for headlines and Garamond Linotype for the body text. Serif fonts (such as Times, Palatino and Garamond) are typically easier to read in large blocks, whereas sans-serif fonts (such as Arial, Verdana and Helvetica) are cleaner and more visually appealing for headlines and the like. Have a look at this article to find out more about which typefaces work well together.