Choosing The Right Font: Highly Functional Fonts
So you have a style of font in mind and you have a trusted source to choose from, now it’s time to make sure your font will meet all of your project’s needs. One thing to check for is that you are selecting Highly Functional Fonts.
Not all fonts are created equal. Just because it looks great on the distribution site doesn’t mean it has all of the features, characters, and functional uses as another. A few of those features might be Ligatures, Alternates, Multi Language Support, and Styles and Families. Having these features included in your selection will help widen the variety of projects the font will be useful on and get more value out of your licensing.
First off, ligatures are a great feature to have in your font to give it more of an organic feeling. Ligatures are custom clusters of letters that are made to work together better or just to add a little extra flair. Sometimes fonts have a custom look for common letter groupings, or a separate look for a letter when it’s paired against itself: both of these are examples of ligatures. If enabled in your software, these changes can be automatic, and are coded into the font itself. The font would still functionally work without them, however they often help give a word or phrase much more of a unique feeling.
Words that have several of the same letter can also be given a more natural feel by using alternate letters. Although they are much more difficult to use in Microsoft Word, alternates are a way to give a font a much wider paintbrush to work with, and help give words and phrases a much more custom look without having to create any new glyphs yourself.
Ligatures and Alternates are both included in OpenType Features. Learn a little more about OpenType features.
Most fonts you will find on distribution sites have your basic Latin character sets, but many will also support a vast range of other languages. When finding fonts for your tool box, you may not be thinking of needing support for German or Spanish, but these letters and accent marks can be very helpful for your next international client, and help you make your transitions to those clients that much more smooth.
Language Support Filter Coming!
Styles and Families
There are a large number of fonts that come with more than one style. There may be other versions such as italic, bold, thin, or other various weights, versions with a line in the middle (known as inline), as well as versions where the letters are spaced further apart or closer together. These sets, or families, often come as a package at a reduced price. Often these are a great way to find fonts that work together with subtle differences to accent or highlight certain words for your project.
Here are several font styles: Bold | College | Inline | Italic | Light | Outline
These are just a few things that fonts may include and that you should consider, especially if you are needing one to license for your business. Fonts that have Ligatures, Alternates, Multi-Language support, and have several styles in the Font Family will allow you to use the font many times without your work feeling repetitive.