10 Fonts That Are a Graphic Design Sin

Anyone in graphic design would know there are some fonts you should use and others that you should avoid like the plague. We’re going to take a look at 10 fonts you should never use when you’re putting a design together. Some of these fonts often find their way into modern publications and artwork, baffling the mind of expert designers and their sense of good taste. So without further ado, here are 10 fonts that you should only ever use in a life or death scenario, and even then really just in an ironic way rather than anything else.

1. Arial

There was a time when Arial was the standard font for Windows applications and was the default in Office 2007. Mercifully however, those days are now over. Arial was originally chosen as an alternative to the older, more popular Helvetica, but it really does pale in comparison to the other fonts and offers nothing new or bold.

2. Comic Sans

There are few fonts that are as universally reviled as Comic Sans, and the whimsical font can turn an A+ essay into an immediate detention. Why it’s not that bad when it’s used appropriately for children’s products, party invitations and the like, that’s where the font’s uses end. Use comic sans and you’re really calling the quality of your work into question in a big way.

3. Franklin Gothic

While Franklin Gothic is an iconic font and does have the potential to look good when used on the appropriate task, too many times in the past has it been used heavy handedly to give websites a “classic” look that could have been much more effectively achieved through alternative means. While Franklin Gothic is pretty good for headlines it should always be used sparingly.

4. Bradley Hand

Handwritten-style fonts like Bradley Hand never seem to work as well as they used, for the same reason as Franklin Gothic in the sense that people are too heavy handed when they use them. While this font tries to give text a sense of fun and personality. When you consider the other decision choices you can make to achieve similar means it’s really an ineffective method.

5. Courier

Courier makes sense in some forms, such as screenplays, coding and plain text documents but it doesn’t really have a place in graphic design and this is largely down to the disproportional lettering. The typewriter aesthetic can look great on a page, but is really unsuitable when graphic designers are putting together websites. While it’s good for readability it really doesn’t work as a logo or in a graphic design document.

6. Papyrus

If they were handing out an award to fonts that are bad for graphic design Papyrus might just take the cake. The king of fonts for naturopaths and spa therapy services, a big body of text set out in Papyrus is hard to take seriously, and it looks somewhat childish. So when your mouse is hovering over a design choice for that AGM report, remember there is always an alternative font.

7. Trajan

Anyone who has seen a poster for a movie has seen this font. Used on everything from Apollo 13 to The Mummy and even Whale Rider, something about this font just doesn’t feel right. It’s almost as if it could do with a bolding, as the thin nature of the typography often gets lost in the background images of the movie poster.

8. Bank Gothic

This movie poster font is generally more associated with action movies to the point where it’s become quite saturated. While it is effective when used on the latest Sylvester Stallone blockbuster, it just doesn’t work when found in other facets of graphic design.

9. Times New Roman

If the only thing you’re looking to do is remind your target audience of their high school assignments, then Times New Roman works fine and dandy, but if you have loftier design goals you really have to go for something a little more interesting than this pretty standard font choice.

10. Impact

Impact is striking and can help capture the viewer’s attention, but it’s been criminally overused over the years and should probably be avoided by today’s graphic designers. While it will always have its place as an office handout font it should never be used as a professional logo or a public document. If you’re serious about your graphic design you’ll know there are much better choices when it comes to capturing the attention and imagination of your audience.

When working on any graphic design project, there are certain decisions that go against all of the rules of graphic design. To ensure that you don’t make one of those decisions, you should have a team of experts, such as Dark Horse, on your side. Contact the friendly team at Dark Horse today to get started.

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