What is a font?

In UX (user experience) design, a font refers to a specific implementation of a typeface.. The font choice can greatly impact the overall look and feel of the design, as well as the legibility and readability of the text. Different fonts can convey different emotions and tones, such as a playful font for a children's app or a professional font for a financial website. The font size, spacing and color can also be adjusted to help enhance the overall usability of the design. It's important for designers to consider the typeface, font size and line spacing to create an easy-to-read and visually pleasing design.

What’s the difference between a font and a typeface?

A font and a typeface are related but distinct terms. A typeface is the overall design of a set of characters, including the shapes of the letters, numbers, and symbols. It can include variations such as bold, italic, and condensed versions. A font, on the other hand, refers to a specific implementation of a typeface. It includes the specific size, weight, and style of a typeface, such as 12-point Times New Roman bold or 18-point Arial italic. So, a typeface is a family of fonts that share the same design, while a font is a specific member of that family.

In simple terms, a typeface is a design of letters, numbers and symbols and a font is the way that typeface is presented in a specific size, weight and style.

How do I choose a font when designing?

When choosing a font for a design project, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Legibility: The font should be easy to read, with clear and distinct shapes for each letter. It's important to choose a font that's easy to read for the target audience, for instance if the design is for children's book, the font should be simple and rounded.
  2. Branding: The font should align with the overall tone and style of the brand. For example, a playful font might be appropriate for a toy company, while a formal font would be better for a law firm.
  3. Contrast: The font should have good contrast with the background color to ensure that it is easy to read.
  4. Function: The font should be appropriate for the purpose of the design. For example, a font with fine details might be difficult to read on a small screen or at a distance, so a simpler font would be a better choice.
  5. Pairing: The font should pair well with other design elements. For example, a minimalist font may pair well with a simple, modern design, while a more ornate font might pair well with a traditional design.
  6. Accessibility: It's important to consider accessibility when choosing a font. Some people have difficulty reading certain types of fonts, such as those that are too thin or ornate.

It's also important to use a limited number of fonts in a single design, usually no more than 2-3. This will help to create a consistent and harmonious visual style, and make it easier to create a strong and recognizable brand identity.


Learn more about Typography

Check out our UX Research course and start improving your UX design skills today.

Start for free