Here’s How You Should Be Using Typography In Presentations

Here's How You Should Be Using Typography In Presentations

A good font will probably go unnoticed in what is perceived as an amazing presentation. A bad choice of font, however, is a capital sin in presentation design for which there will be no hiding place. Typography in presentations is a blend of knowledge, creativity and experience.

If you’re unsure of where to get started or you just want to find out how to choose and combine the right fonts (I’m looking at you, Comic Sans user), keep reading.

 

1. Typography basics: a quick overview

Typography is the visual art of creating and arranging written words. This encompasses everything from fonts, to readability, text positioning and functionality.

In presentations, we use typography to convey ideas but also to create a mood and invoke an emotional response that makes our audience more receptive to our ideas.

Because it’s such an important element that we use to connect with our viewers and readers, it’s important that we’re familiar with some of the different options and “rules” of typography.

 

2. Fonts are your presentation’s best friend

Let’s start with fonts since they represent the essence of typography for most people. An easy-to read font will help your message reach the audience faster and more efficiently, while the wrong font can annihilate ideas and frustrate audiences.

Some people use the terms fonts and typefaces interchangeably, which is fine in most use cases. Technically, the two terms have different meanings, in that a typeface is considered to be the design of the text, while the font is viewed as the way in which that design is delivered.

In other wordsTypeface + Style + Size = Font

For example:


Lato

Typeface: Lato

Style: Black

Size: 60 px


With that quick definition out of the way, we’ll be going over the most commonly known types of fonts and seeing how they can be best applied in presentation design.

In a basic categorization, we have Serif fonts, Sans-Serif fonts, Script fonts and Display or Decorative fonts.

 

Serif fonts

You can identify a Serif font by the small lines attached to the ends of letters.

Using Typography In Your Presentation - Serif Fonts

These are considered to be more traditional or serious fonts, best suited for large blocks of copy, such as a paragraph in a book. So mainly for print.

You can still use them in presentations if they fit the topic and the overall style, preferably in headings and in a larger font size (16+).

Here are some examples:

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

 

Sans-Serif fonts

As the name implies (granted, it’s using French to do so), Sans Serif fonts are the ones “sans” or without the little lines at the end of letters. The more modern, simple looking ones.

Using Typography In Your Presentation - Sans Serif Font

Most people would agree that this type of fonts make it easier to navigate visually, helping move your eyes along the lines of text. These are the ones you’ll want to be using in a digital environment, most presentations included.

For presentation design, these are the right fonts for both text body and headings. Some of the most well-known ones include:

Using Typography In Your Presentation - Sans Serif Fonts

But there are many more to choose from, such as:

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

 

A Script font looks like a cursive, handwritten font. The fastest way to identify them is by their connected letters. Some of them are very elegant, while others are fun and casual.

In a presentation, the most commonly used way of using Script fonts is in the second part of a title or in connecting words.

Here are some examples:

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

 

Display / Decorative fonts

The ones that scream “Look at me!”. Original, informal fonts that grab your attention, Decorative fonts are best suited for strategic and scarce usage.

In presentations, you can really create outstanding covers using Decorative fonts in titles and main headings with few words. You can also use them to create a strong emotional impact when presenting an idea in a single word.

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

 

Now, for every font you use, you’ll want to make sure you follow to some basic rules of presentations. Keep in mind the following:

  • Opt for no more than 2-3 sentences per slide
  • If you’re using lists, 6 bullets/points per slide should cover it.
  • Make sure to leave enough space between lines of text.
  • Titles should be at least 28 to 48 points
  • Bulleted text or body copy at least 24 points
  • Only use caps in headlines and section titles, not in paragraphs.
  • Embed your fonts for safety reasons

3. Choosing the right fonts for the right reasons

Because every type of font, and every particular font, looks a certain way and elicits a specific type of response from your audience, you’ll want to be using the right ones for the right reasons.

 

Body fonts

This would be your first concern. Choose a font that is easy on the eyes and easy to read. No distracting or decorative fonts here. You want your audience to be comfortable reading your slides.

We recommend using Helvetica, Open Sans, Roboto or Gill Sans for example. Use the regular version for your body text if you have little content. If you want your slides to look clean and give the viewer enough negative space, opt for the light versions of these fonts.

 

Heading fonts

One option for headings is to use the bold version of your body font. You can also use All Caps for headings, to create a sense of hierarchy. You can also use these fonts for presentation divider slides.

Some of our favorite free fonts to use in headings are Babas Neue, Lato and Open Sans ExtraBold.

Here are some examples:

 

Title fonts

The first thing your audience will see is the last font you should choose. That’s because you need to have a sense of the overall style you’re creating, where all these fonts come together to support a visually coherent presentation. This ties into the topic of your presentation, your audience’s preferences and your other design choices for color theme, imagery and fonts.

For example:

COCOQUADRAT

 

Here are some inspiring Display Fonts for your titles and covers:

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

 

4. How to combine fonts

This is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of typography. Choosing two or more fonts to use together can be a real challenge.

The goal is to use fonts that complement each other, but are not too similar. You want them to be different, without clashing.

Here are some tips from Canva on how to perform this selection:

  • Find a shared quality, such as letter height or width, or an underlying structure;
  • Find fonts by the same designer; look for font families known as “super-families” that come with both a serif and a sans-serif typeface designed specifically to complement each other;
  • Give each font a job, by creating a clear visual hierarchy — showing viewers where to look and what’s important; for example, you can use one sans-serif and one serif font.

 

You can also use a tool such as Font Pair, that offers you pre-made font combinations before you develop your own taste in combining fonts.

Some of the trending combinations include:

  • Raleway + Roboto Slab
  • Montserrat + Merriweather
  • Amatic SC + Josefin Sans
  • Playfair Display + Source Sans Pro
  • Fjalla One + Cantarell
  • Alegreya + Lato
  • Unica One + Vollkorn

 

5. Where to get fonts

If you’re just getting started or if you simply don’t have enough resources right now to invest in paid fonts, build some experience using default and free fonts.

 

Default fonts

Presentation making tools come with a series of fonts already available to you. Some of them are more than adequate for creating outstanding presentations. Examples include:

  • Futura
  • Garamond
  • Gill Sans
  • Helvetica
  • Rockwell

 

Free fonts

It’s important to know that free doesn’t always mean just free. Always check the license of the font you’re downloading before using it. There are different licensing options for personal, commercial, or educational use. Also, some fonts have limits on how many times they can appear in print or online or how/if they can be distributed to other parties.

Here are some of the most popular websites for free fonts:

 

Paid fonts

One of the easiest ways to get a complete sent of Fonts that go well together is to opt for a paid bundle. Like this one:

Powered by Creative Market

 

Once you’ve become an experienced presentation creator, you can experiment with individual font families and combine them to get the best visual effects for your content.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with fonts. Even the most boring fonts can create amazing slides if you combine them the right way and use colors, dimensions and spacing to bring them together.

Your audience will be grateful for a pleasant visual experience and they will connect with your ideas more effectively if you choose the right fonts.

And, if all else fails, you have us to guide and help you design amazing presentations for business or personal projects.


CTA-Icon-2

Are you ready to take your presentations to the next level?

Our team can help with everything from researching your project, writing the content, designing and building your slides, and even creating handouts.

Get in touch

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.