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Choosing Fonts for Print & Web

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Choosing Fonts for Print & Web

Newspaper_as_laptop When the new Ikea catalog arrived in mailboxes around the world last week, many customers of the Swedish furniture company known for good design at low prices were surprised to see a new typeface throughout the catalog. People were actually quite upset that the company had switched from the elegant Futura, the font it had used in its catalogs for half a century, to the more humble and common font Verdana. In fact, when Romanian design consultant Marius Ursache started an online petition to get Ikea to change its mind on August 26, he spurred a global backlash against Ikea. That night, there were more tweets decrying the font change than there were about recently deceased US Senator Ted Kennedy on the popular microblogging service Twitter. Why, after all these years, did Ikea drop the beloved Futura font? According to BusinessWeek, an Ikea representative told Swedish design magazine Cap & Design the switch to Verdana will allow the company to use a uniform font in all countries and to use the same font for both print and Web applications. There are actually very few standard fonts that look as good on a paper as they do on a computer screen. In fact, some experts maintain that there is no such thing and that different fonts should always be used for print than those used for the Web. That said, if you must use the same font for both print and Web, Verdana is not a bad choice. Despite the outcry against Ikea's adoption of it, Verdana is one of two fonts Microsoft designed especially for both print and Web use. (Georgia is the other font, a good replacement for Times New Roman that is legible as small as 9 points.) Both fonts are widely distributed free of charge. If you are going to choose seperate fonts for Web and print applications, then you have a much greater choice of fonts to choose from when selecting one or two for your company branded designs than just Verdana and Georgia. To get you started, here is a list of Web-safe font families that will display properly across most Internet browsers:

  • Impact
  • Palatino Linotype
  • Tahoma
  • Century Gothic
  • Lucinda Sans Unicode
  • Arial Black
  • Times New Roman
  • Arial narrow
  • Verdana
  • Copperplate Gothic Light
  • Lucinda Console
  • Gill Sans
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Courier New
  • Arial
  • Georgia

Still having trouble choosing a Web-safe font? Try Font Tester, a free online tool that lets you preview and compare fonts side-by-side with various CSS font styles applied to them. When it comes to choosing a font for print applications, your choice is a bit harder as the variety is so much greater. Here are some beautiful fonts to consider using in print applications only, including your label designs:

And if you need help identifying fonts, try one or more of these resources: