Tuesday, September 17, 2019

What is the worst font

I was asked: “What is the worst font on Microsoft Word?”

Question about Microsoft Word and Fonts come up frequently and the answers generally are not specific to the Word application or Fonts.


Microsoft Word is at its core a word processing application. It can display your text files using any typeface family or individual font installed on your computer. The fonts on your computer are some of the many tools used in visual communications. When utilized correctly fonts can be fun, create interest and assist in communicating ideas.

Worst font; this is a misconception, bad typography is not to be blamed on the fonts themselves. It is not that a particular font design, or the typeface designer intention to make a “worst font”. A “worst font” is not result of the fonts themselves, or the applications or the computers, but on these technologies users.

Sometimes even though the purpose is creating visual communication when using these current technology tools it is not achieved well. It is easy to say this is because untrained ignorant novices are creating bad graphic design. However sometimes graphic designers create crap too.

In the creative services industry creation of a visual communication piece that looks right and functions as it needs to for the intended audience is a combination of such things as fonts, images, media, and the design process thinking in the writing, art direction and graphic design practice. Traditionally skills specifying a font or fonts were taught, learned and gained from collaboration, mentorship, years of study, experience typesetting and crafting typography that resulted in a quality visual communication piece that was then printed on paper media.

Fonts have been around a long time and thousands exist. Historic purpose and context are relevant to ones selection of one font over another. Some fonts are created for display size, others for text size. Each font is created to assist in solving a problem of human communication.

Sometimes in graphic design and typography steps are skipped, design abuse occurs and bad business cards, flyers, websites, movie screen credits, paper back books, ads, magazines, invitations, signs, you name it, are created. Any visual communication creation can have a font that “looks worst”. This is a human failing in font selection and that fonts improper application, not the result of the font or program used.

Consider these fonts below, each was designed with a purpose, direction and consideration. Not of a serif or san-serif classification these fonts fall under special display font classification you would not want to read them in the many pages of paragraphs in a paperback novel. However in other media and for a specific use, for an intended audience, to convey a particular message they have a place.
Graphic shows 8 different display fonts in the special classification. Each sample reads the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy alligator.
























Bad typography or “worst font” is not to be blamed on the fonts, programs, computers or printing peripherals, but on their users setting the type.


So when you need a visual communication piece done right the first time. Know that experienced professional graphic designers make typography every day so that others will learn, understand, embrace, object, react, buy, rebuild, repair, apply, think, listen, laugh, cry, heal, grow. 
If the typeface is knowingly selected and the typography is done well it is both legible and readable and you do not notice it is there unless you are supposed to by design.

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