Font choices can make or break a message. In the 23 examples we created below, we broke the message on purpose to highlight how on a conscious or subconscious level, poor typeface choices negatively affect the message in the copy.
Typefaces have personalities. If their personalities don’t match the essence of your business or message or text, you can create a conflict which distracts your audience.
We had fun below creating some absurd and extreme examples of bad font choices to make a point, but they are based – at least in spirit – on examples we’ve come across over the years. Hyperbole? Indeed. Fun? Of course!
So browse through these lovingly-typeset typographic wonders and consider font choices a little more closely on your next design project.
NOTE: Please put your coffee down before reading the commentary. You’ve been warned.
“Softer please…I said softer. SOFTER! SOFT…AHH-GATHA!!!”
Like, maybe we could, like go for a ride later? Or like, right now? M’kay?
Typographer you are not.
I can see it now. Ashley is going to fill out my tax forms with multi-colored pen. Maybe even one of the metallic kind that bleed through the page, but look all shiny on the front.
I find your request…difficult. Just give me a minute, k?
Yoga mats, bamboo incense sticks, and mirror walls…could be dangerous.
Well, they say the cobbler’s kids don’t get any shoes.
I must hurry up and get my space pegged and claim an adirondack chair in the shade. But first I have to run to the bar to place my drink order. Shoot, look at the line!
Seem’s like Amanda is hiding something. An ulterior motive?
We could deduce that Dr. Fangser Brown gives each client an application of his own unique style of cosmetic upgrading.
Ok, this example here is simply…a disconnect. There is no connection whatever between the personality and expected usage of the font with the business name or the industry of the business. Honestly now – how many times have you seen that before? How many times on the way to work today? How many examples in today’s mail?
Hmm…I don’t feel so comfortable. This font sends the exact opposite feeling of a fluffy pillow. Angular, harsh, and generally uncomfy.
I’ll let you ponder this one…
This is an entirely offensive and inappropriate font choice.
What a shocking suggestion! Is it safe? Can I take my hair-dryer in to warm up the water?
Thank goodness we found a Computer Shack that was still open tonight! I need a new wall wart power supply for my Texas Instruments TRS-80, as well as a 50 pack of C-size batteries for my remote control toy tank!
“Mommy, I don’t like this park. Why does there have to be old, yucky, band-aids all over the slide?”
This is gonna hurt. I know it.
I think maybe we misapplied a little something here…
Hadst thou not heardest of thither new-fangled tecknologies? A wee fowl didst tell me just now. But pray tell, what exactly is “Web 2.o”? And wither dirst it goe?
This is wrong on all the right levels to indicate that an article titled like this is not worth a click.
A lawyer who thinks he’s a comic – what a joke!
Yo, Font-Addict! Make sure to sneak-peek at The Big Book of Font Combinations PDF. It's on sale—17% off—for a limited time and then POOF! Go grab a copy and stare at all 370 examples of informative font combinations for web and print. You know you want to!
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- Choosing a typeface timelapse – Brian Hoff (note: very cool video! check it out!)