Great Examples of Font Usage Done Right

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External Signage

Sam Sutton illustrated how use of a simple font in the project does a lot for the overall feeling of a design. Not only is the font a simple sans serif font, but the addition of gentle curves make the font feel less industrial than it would otherwise. The font also plays well with both the background (which is black powder-coated aluminum, giving it an attractive dark matte look) and charming flame and heart logo. This is an example where a good font not only fits in with the design, but elevates it to something more.

Green Market Boundary Signage

When looking at the signage designed by Peter Gibbons for the Borough Market, you can’t help but feel like you’re walking among the street vendors on a lazy Saturday afternoon in your favorite farmers market. It provides a playful, hand-drawn look without being sloppy. It’s artistic, but at the same time still offers up readability where sometimes other script-style fonts fall short. This font is a great choice because not only is it useful, it has tons of personality to boot.

Greatest Hits of the 70s

Great typeface choices aren’t something that only exist in modern days, something that is in evidence on the cover of this old copy of “100 Greatest Hits of the 60’s and 70’s” sheet music arrangements, offered up by Michael Mandiberg. This font is very reminiscent of disco days gone by and brings back some of that retro-chic feel. Not only would this font play an instrumental part in the marketing of this product - as well as helping people to identify what it is without having to read a lengthy description - it really helps to trigger up memories of discos and dance halls, proving that the right choice in font can really make a project.

New Font: Gordon Black

While not actively applied to any specific project, this example of Gordon Black - a new font designed by the designers from FontShop - showcases how by slightly altering the formula of a standard bold titling face, you can create a feeling of warmth and even playfulness behind the initial feeling of power and strength. Lan Huang goes on to state “Gordon actually offers great versatility through the addition of a wide range of special superscript ornaments — so-called word logos or “catchwords.” This font can easily be applied to everything from product packaging to flyers and more and fit in flawlessly.

The Electric

If you’re into art deco, you probably know the specifics of the types of fonts that were used around this time period. Art deco was categorized by a few specific fonts, from our favorite stencil-style fonts to the artsy slender fonts adorning the doorways of everything from department stores to antique shops. This is the signage for The Electric, a remodeled cinema in Chinatown, Birmingham in England. As you can see, the use of the smooth and slender typeface, along with the asymmetrical placement of the bars of the letter E provide a great vintage feel, something very characteristic to the 1930s. Can’t you just imagine seeing a silent film in a place like this?

MTV Asia 2008 Design

This typeface design for the MTV Asia Music Awards showcases how fonts can fit in well with other artistic elements to create something with a very nice flow overall. The font is relatively simple - rounded, simplified letters stripped of crossbars, giving the letters a more “open” feel. The roundness also compliments the artistic S element by creating a smoothness and flow that follows throughout the whole poster design from the top of the feathers to the end of the trail. This sleek black and white design is very modern, and thanks to the choice of typeface, it feels very minimalistic and artsy at the same time.

Typography and Design

This is a fantastic example of how different fonts can come together to prove a point. This poster is here to showcase that different kinds of fonts can play together well and explain how design works. The title typeface - which introduces the content of the poster - is a very industrial feeling sans-serif font, easy to read and hard to ignore. The font that explains the concepts of typography and design is a professional serif font, drawing the eye through the information easily while providing that extra edge that seems to lend itself to expertise.

Mumford Typography

Fonts have long been used to illustrate quotes and meaningful lyrics, which is exactly what Andrew Steel did with a quote from “I Gave You All”, a song by Mumford and Sons. By choosing a serif font with an old style feel, it lends some strong emotion to the words - be it sadness, regret, or even a bit of loneliness. If the same quote were written with a sans-serif font, it may come off as more industrial or emotionally stunted. This is an example of choosing a typeface to invoke a specific feeling within the reader, and a well done one at that.

Typography: Antique Sign

Sometimes fonts do not have to be the most readable, nor do they have to be designed with function in mind to be functional. For example, this photograph depicts the signage of an antique shop in Paris, France. At first, the sign may seem a little hard to read, but the charming feeling of the sleek, non-descriptive cursive offers a sense of style you wouldn’t get from something more elaborate. The sign has a very “French” feel to it, nonchalant and unassuming. The sign for the Father-Son optometrist is written in a more elaborate script font, and lacks the personality of the antique sign - but most likely to convey information more clearly.

When you think of graphic design, hopefully you think of something well put together. That’s what I see when I look at the Spime logo, which was created by David Orban for a design workshop. The use of a very streamlined, curvy font presents a professional feel while remaining sleek and relaxed. It fits in well with both the color scheme and shape of the logo, enhancing the rounded corners and splash over the lowercase i. This is another example of how finding the perfect font for a project allows you to make a great point, convey a feeling, or showcase artistic talent.


  • Information by Amber Neely, who has seven years experience in graphic design. All images are credited to their original creators.