Working with weights – but don’t over do it!

The key to great marketing copy is to use a professional copywriter (and there are several we can recommend) as this gives you a solid foundation for your leaflet, website, poster, brochure, or whatever graphics you are creating. However appropriate application of graphic design techniques ensures the text is presented in the best way possible and encourages your prospective customer to read it – and discover how fabulous it is!

Weight training

One method is to work with ‘weights’ – no not the sort you find in the gym, but the typeface kind. Professional fonts (and some free ones) come with several variations or ‘weights’ of the typeface such as ‘Bold’, ‘Italic’ etc. The really good ones can have really comprehensive ‘Families’ with many more subtle variations such as ‘Extralight’, ‘Thin’, ‘Medium’, ‘Semi-bold’, ‘Bold’, ‘Heavy’, ‘Black’ and ‘Extra-black’ (or even more) that give you much more scope. Why is this important? Well, let’s take a look…

  1. Proportion – It can be tempting to use a bold font for headlines as they are important, but sometimes this can look a little overbearing. It’s not a fixed rule, but generally the proportions of a layout can look better if you reduce the weight as you increase the size
  2. Emphasis – Bold and/or italic type can make smaller text stand out well – if you highlight occasional words in the ‘Body text’ (i.e the main paragraphs etc), it’ll make these pop and catch the reader’s eye
  3. Space Saving –  For areas of copy that are important, but not critical to the marketing message (such as terms and conditions and other small print) it can be tempting to use really small font sizes, but this may not be great for legibility. Instead see if the font has one or more ‘Condensed’, or ‘Compressed’ faces in its family. This will allow you to use a slightly larger font whilst taking up less horizontal space. This is far more preferable to simply compressing the text manually as this ends up messy
  4. Differentiation – Condensed and compressed faces can also be used to differentiate subject matter within the copy, such as facts and figures, quotes etc

Don’t overdo it!

As with weights in the gym, there is always the risk of overdoing it, so take care when working with them – little and often is best.

  1. Avoid making large paragraphs bold as you lose the emphasis you were looking for
  2. Don’t mix and match between condensed and non-condensed fonts too often on each page, and certainly not within a paragraph as it’ll look messy!

Take a look at the example layout below which demonstrates some of these ideas, and if you’d like advice on working with (font) weights then we’d be happy to help, simply get in touch. And to get tips like this delivered direct to your inbox simply sign up to our emails and select ‘Design tips’ from the available subject options.

How to use font weights effectively in your designs

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