We use fonts inside our computers all the time but we are a unconscious of the rules of typography. A lot of fonts look great but we should know a little bit more, and this is all we are going to do in this lesson.
Our computer offers us so many options and the first thing we need to do is to focus on just one single font, that will be the font that we are going to use in this presentation. In this example, Helvetica.
Using one font doesn’t mean that your presentation is going to be dull or boring because every font can include different weights. And these weights come together with sizes that allow you to define the style of your presentation. Based on the amount of text that you have, you can choose a style for your title. You can choose a style for your text, and it’s also a good idea to have a special style because there’s always something that you want to highlight in your slides. And you could have one style for emphasis. We are going to come back to this, but it’s really important. Be consistent once you choose the styles, these are fixed.
There are two big families of fonts; one family is called Serif and one family is called Sans Serif. What distinguishes them is quite simply what is highlighted in the circles. One family of fonts has those serifs, the other one doesn’t have them.
Let’s focus on the Serif for the moment. You’ve seen it everywhere, especially in newspapers and books, because it’s elegant, it’s traditional, and it has high readability, especially in long form. And if you want to use a Serif in your presentations, go for Georgia.
Let’s go to Sans Serif. This is more modern and it’s perfect for headers. And if you want to use a great Sans Serif, you can use Helvetica. This is what we are using in this example.
Now let’s look at the font that we are using throughout this presentation. We are using Fira. And Fira comes in all these fantastic, different weights. You also need to know that Italic is less readable than Regular. So if you have something really important that you want to say, don’t say it in Italic. Lowercase text is usually more readable than uppercase text. So, don’t fill a slide with just uppercase text. And although justified text might look neat and tidy, text aligned to the left is easier to read.
Once you establish your styles, you need to stick to them. What happens in a lot of presentations is that you find one slide in one way and then in the next slide there is a shorter title. There’s more text, so the text gets shrunk. Don’t do it! Don’t ever do it! Be consistent and have similar lengths and similar font sizes in all of your slides. And it might happen that you need to adapt your text because you have something that is too long. You should adjust the text of your slides to your styles, not the other way around.
And finally, always use big fonts, the bigger the better. The rule is to start with 30pts minimum but I would say, go for 60, go for 90. It’s really important.
- Be conscious about your typography and once you know how much text and how much information is going to go into your slides, establish those fonts beforehand.