Dress Up Your Documents with Better Fonts

Posted Thursday, August 1st, 2013 by .

Fonts

There is a long-standing joke among designers that Comic Sans is the most overused and misused font among Windows users, and is often a default choice when inexperienced users are looking to make a document or flyer a little more “fun”. If you are looking to dress up your documents, letterhead, presentations, flyers, and other creative projects, you don’t just have to settle for the fonts currently installed on your system, and you certainly don’t have to fall prey to the lure of Comic Sans! There are a number of great websites devoted to helping you find great fonts from talented designers. Some are free, and some have a cost, but most of them are a better option than the system fonts available on Windows and Mac computers.

Installing New Fonts

Before we start exploring and downloading new fonts, let’s cover how to install new fonts on both Windows and Mac. The process is very easy for both platforms:

Windows:

  1. Download the font file and note its location. Most font downloads are zip files that must be unzipped by double-clicking them.
  2. Once the font has been unzipped, locate the actual font file, usually with the extension of “.otf” for OpenType Font.
  3. Right-click the font file and choose Install. Your font is now installed.
  4. To view the fonts installed on your system, click the Start button and type “fonts” into the search box, then hit Enter.

Mac:

  1. Download the font you want. The file will generally go to your Downloads folder located in the dock. The font will usually be a zip file that you can unzip by double-clicking it, then a folder is created with the zip file’s contents.
  2. Look in the folder for a “.ttf” or “.otf” file. Double-click the file to view the font.
  3. Click the Install Font button to install the font.
  4. To view the installed fonts on your Mac,  click the Spotlight hour glass at the top right of the screen and type “font book” into the search bar, then hit Enter.

 

Where to Find Fonts

Now that we know how to install new fonts, where do we find them? There are several excellent sites on the web that offer a variety of interesting fonts for all types of designs and documents. Here are a few of the best:

Lost Type

Lost TypeLosttype.com has an excellent selection of unique fonts, and you can name your own price. You can even start by entering $0 to download and test out the font, and if you like it, you can come back and choose a higher dollar amount to support the designer. Lost Type’s fonts run the gamut from elegant and stylish to grungy and gritty, so you should be able to find what you need.

DaFont

DaFont.com has a great selection of fonts, and while their site isn’t as visually appealing as some others, the layout is easy to browse, and they provide categories for the different fonts to make finding what you are looking for much easier. Most of their fonts are free for personal use.

Font Squirrel

Font SquirrelFontsquirrel.com not only has a great collection of fonts, but they are all free, even for commercial use. While they may not have the cutting-edge fonts of other font sites, their collection is well-organized, and you can always find something inspiring for a flyer or presentation.

 

While there are many excellent font sites on the web, these three will get you started in your journey away from simple system fonts and into more interesting designs. Once you have some great fonts installed, don’t forget to use them in your future print projects instead of defaulting to Times New Roman, Comic Sans, or Arial. For more about combining different fonts in one design, see our 7 Foolproof Principles for Perfect Font Combinations.

Steve Leigh

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Steven Leigh has been enthusiastic about technology since he was very young, and he enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with others, through his writing. He is also a composer, a musician, and a singer, experimenting with the blending of technology and music with his recording and performance projects. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf and running in 5K races and is currently training for his first 10K.

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