Can you tell which one of these fonts is more modern?

Most people can’t tell one font from another (and that’s okay – you’re not a font nerd). In the world of design, typography can make the biggest difference between looking modern and dated.

Years ago, before the ability to use @font-face, designers were limited to a small collection of basic fonts like Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, and others from the red column. If your website, app, or marketing materials use any of these fonts – chances are, it’s time for an upgrade.

While those fonts served a good purpose back then (Helvetica and Georgia are still okay in some situations), we can now use fonts that are more legible and aesthetically pleasing. Google allows for free, easy to implement web fonts. These are a few of my favorites because they can be used in many situations and are modern, but basic enough to be legible and pleasing to the majority of the population:

Primo Fonts

With other resources like Typekit, Font Spring, Typography.com, and so many others – fonts like this might look even better. There is generally a cost involved and they can be a bit more challenging to implement than google fonts, but the results are often worth it.

These are my top 3 picks for favorite modern fonts at the moment:

3 Fonts to Stop Using

With certain exceptions, like this shirt I want which spells out “helvetica” using Comic Sans, I think we can all agree that these fonts should almost never be used, right?

  • Papyrus
  • Comic Sans
  • Lobster

I still see spas, schools, churches, credit unions and other companies using Papyrus and it blows my mind every time. Web Designer Depot calls Papyrus childish, kitschy, irritating, ugly and the king of bad fonts. Comic Sans, the most hated of all fonts, should be used for comic books and comic books alone – there is a reason why Marvel and DC aren’t using it on their websites. Are you a Comic Sans criminal? Lobster is a newer one on the scene – some even say lobster is the new comic sans┬ábecause it got so overused a few years ago. I even used it on a few projects and it may look good at first, but it’s a trap!

Sans Serif

When to use sans-serif fonts – the ones without (sans) the decorative flourishes (or curls) on the ends of letters

Sans Serif in Branding

There are some beautiful serif and display fonts out there, but if you look at the most successful companies – 70-80% of them are using a Sans Serif font – remember the Google logo change? Serif fonts can still look great for large elegant headings and body copy when appropriate, but most of the time a Sans Serif font is going to work best for your brand.

Top Brands

We can look at 12 of the most valuable brands of 2017 according to Forbes – with the exception of Coca-Cola, Disney, and GE’s long standing custom logotypes, they are all sans-serif. Getting a custom logotype done can be a great option as well. The great thing about using a sans-serif font is that it can work for any industry and pair nicely with simple brand logomarks. Sometimes, the best decision is to ditch the type in a brand altogether (like Apple, Twitter & Snapchat) and simply use a logomark with symbolism that is recognizable in any language.

Consider sans-serif fonts for brands in the following industries:

  • Tech
  • Everything else

Serif

When to use serif fonts – the ones with the decorative flourishes (or curls) on the ends of letters

Top Brands

While sans-serif fonts still work great for these as well, it might make sense to consider a serif font for these industries:

  • News
  • Luxury
  • Fashion
  • Law
  • Medical
  • Finance
  • Real Estate
  • Parent Companies