Design Resources

Fonts and Typefaces

A font, or typeface, is the style or look of type treatment. For example, when you change Times New Roman to Arial in a document, you are switching fonts.

Serif and Sans Serif

Fonts usually fall into one of two categories: serif or sans serif. Serif fonts have little flourishes; sans serif are plain with clean edges. Serif fonts are often a good choice for long sections of text, such as in a report, while sans serif fonts are often used for headlines or digital platforms such as websites. This is not a hard-and-fast, rule, however. Here are examples of serif and sans serif fonts:

Quick Tips

Here are some general guidelines for font use:

  • Don't run yellow type on a white background (it's too hard to read).
  • Don't use more than three fonts in one document.
  • Use universal fonts when designing for the web (see below).
  • Use serif for body text and save sans serif for headline text or signage.
  • Avoid overused fonts such as Comic Sans and Papyrus, which many designers consider unprofessional-looking.

NAMI Fonts

NAMI often uses the following fonts in our publications and professionally designed materials:
  • Franklin Gothic
  • Museo Slab (or Roboto Slab as an alternative)
  • Proxima Nova (or Open Sans as an alternative)

Fonts on the Web

When you design web products (sites, emails, digital newsletters), stick to universal fonts that are recognized by almost all computers. In general, these fonts include Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, Verdana and others. For a complete list of universally accepted web fonts, visit this overview. These fonts usually come standard on all computers, whether Mac or PC platform.

The primary difference between the fonts you use in print and the fonts you use on the web is that not everyone has the same fonts on their computers, so what you design for the web or an HTML newsletter won't always look the same to the person receiving it. It's smart to use universal fonts so that your digital communications will look the same no matter who's viewing them.

You can read more about fonts on Designzzz.

You can purchase professional fonts from Adobe.

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