Most Overused Fonts

Oh Puleeese! Not Times Roman Again! That’s the general moaning and groaning heard across the Internet. Most graphic sites have a long list of the top ten or even one hundred fonts that are “most overused.”

Included are fonts like:

  • Times Roman
  • Helvetica
  • Papyrus
  • Impact
  • Courier
  • Comic Sans (with a curse and a pox placed upon this font).

Yes, there is a long list of fonts that are used continuously; however, let’s not always blame the innocent font; after all, it is not the font’s fault that some font enthusiast (or ignoramus, as some may think) uses it over and over and over and…..over…..

Still, because a font has been overused, does not mean that font is worthless. Ten years ago, Times Roman was considered the most readable font in existence. Today, Times Roman is still very readable; the key to using Times Roman or any font is to use it in the right context.

Examples:

  • Courier New must be used for screenplays. It doesn’t matter if you (or your computer savvy brother who is also your affordable graphic designer) don’t like it. If you want your script read, then you use Courier New; otherwise, it will be delivered to the round file (wastebasket) never to be read. Only Courier New is considered professional by studios and professional script readers. Period.
  • Trajan is used again and again for movie posters. Of course, there are many other beautiful and exciting fonts to use but the question to ask is, “Does it sell the movie?” If Trajan will really sell your film, then use it! If it doesn’t feel quite right, then look into other fonts and take the risk.

Good use of fonts is an important function of all graphic design. One of the keys is to use fonts in a timeless manner so that they are not noticed. It is the Message that is important, not the font. The next and equally important key is to make sure the font is appropriate and, above all, readable.

Many fonts, even those that are “overused,” can be unreadable, when used inappropriately.

Examples:

  • Impact has a squeezed look, although it is bold. Under certain circumstances, it is one of those unreadable fonts; yet used in the right context, it can be a perfect use.
  • Papyrus can also be difficult to read; used for the right titles, it is wonderfully exotic; used to explain or describe, it can become impossible to decipher.

Readable Fonts

Like it or not, Helvetica and Times Roman are among the most readable of fonts. Don’t be afraid to use them when you need the reader to immediately understand your message, especially for newsprint and newsletters.

Therefore, overused or underused, the secret to correct font use is to make sure that your selection is always the best choice for the project and that this choice will capture the intended audience. Because, above all, if your font is clearly the best for the product, whether it is a script, a website, or an ad, then you have produced a work of art.

Post image sources: 1, 2, 3