Looking at the photo, is this good design? As designers, you probably expect us to answer “no.” But I think it’s not bad design. The hand-drawn letters communicate that this is a small farmer selling his produce along the road, which is exactly what this is advertising. And even though some of it is hand-drawn, it is legible as you drive down the road.

On the flip side, if the sign read “Tax Accountant, State and Federal Returns Done Here” the underlying message would be that this was a very unprofessional person, a fly-by-night operation. Certainly not someone you could trust to do your taxes.

Type fonts are not something most people give any thought to, yet they are an important part of any design and are often what sets professional design apart from amateur design. They help to project an image of your business just as much as your symbolic logo does. Picking a font because you like it shouldn’t be the primary factor when making that decision. A funky font will only work if you have a funky business.

In addition to image, there are other factors to consider, such as readability and in what mediums the font will be used. Is it going to be used on a website? How readable will it be on a mobile device? Will the font be reversed out of a solid color? Will it appear on a billboard or need to be read from a distance?

Using too many fonts or weights in a piece is generally another no-no. Too many typefaces on one page can become distracting and disconnecting (lacking unity). Too many weights can cause a reader to be unclear where important elements are on a page. This creates the possibility of the reader missing something important.

Spacing is also very important. Vertical spacing (leading) allows the reader to move smoothly between lines of copy. It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose; both make for hard-to read text. Horizontal spacing between letters (tracking) can also affect readability.

Typography is much more than just arranging pretty fonts on a nice background, typography is an essential part of most designs — one that can make or break a whole project.