How to choose a font for your presentations?

People often think of imagery as the key to any design. But designers all over, would agree that fonts play an equally essential role in presentations as it is essential in setting an appropriate tone to visually communicate your big idea. There are a few mindful points to consider, before starting off with working on Fonts in presentations, namely:

1. Nature of presentation

Each font has a personality and a mood. Don’t make the mistake of choosing fonts that don’t match the visual theme of your slide deck. Font choices should always be driven by the nature of one’s presentation content.

Fonts in presentations that are made to facilitate any learning, storytelling, discussion, training, and directed should be kept minimal, with a focus on readability and legibility. For e.g. Reports, Business pitches, Statistical infographics etc.

Fonts in presentations that are made to entertain, engage, or inspire can be more playful, with a focus on style and uniqueness. For e.g. Promotional activities, Social media marketing etc.

2. Size and Structure of content

Understanding the length of content and its nature helps in determining whether a presentation is copy- heavy or copy-light. Analysing the length and structure of the text aids in selecting the right font to make it visually appealing or even readable.

Fonts for heavy copy should be highly readable (like paragraphs or bullet points).

Fonts for text that must be read at a glance should be highly legible (like chart labels and captions)

Fonts for short copy that you want to stand out should be stylized and unique (like headers, sub-headers, keywords)

3. Font personality

In order to communicate an idea effectively, one needs to evoke a certain emotional response from its audience. By consciously choosing the right fonts that match the nature of the presentation one creates a direct impact on a readers’ perception of that content.

4. Legibility and Readability

While presenting you don’t want to make your reader work too hard at reading your text. Certain rules to follow before choosing body fonts:

  • Be highly readable and legible at small sizes
  • Be less stylized than header fonts
  • Have multiple weights (i.e. regular, medium, bold, black)
  • Never be all caps
  • Stay away from scripts and italics.

Legibility refers to how easy it is to make out any given letter on a page. Of the fonts below, one is clearly more legible.

legible text for power tips article

Readability refers to how easy it is to read larger passages of text. As you can see in the example below, both fonts are fairly legible, but it takes much more concentration to read the sentence on the left. The font on the right makes for a more comfortable read.

Serif fonts or bold Sans Serif fonts work best as header, sub-headers, keywords. For longer or body copy, Sans Serif fonts are recommended as they improve readability. Some of the most legible, readable and used fonts are:

5. Font Pairing and Contrast

For any presentation stick to two or at max. three typefaces. With so many fonts out there, it can become a time-consuming task to choose the best ones for your slide deck. Make sure font pairings should be high contrast or low contrast or in other words pair fonts that are either very different, or very similar in overall style.

One of the easiest ways to avoid design blunders is to use a single font for a whole infographic. Create contrast with BOLD or italics versions of your font.

  • Or a dramatic header font with a minimal body font:
  • You could pair a serif header font with a sans-serif body font.

6. Create Visual Hierarchy

Once you have a pairing that works well with your content, it’s time to use your fonts to establish a clear visual structure. Play with size and weight to emphasize some text and de-emphasize other text.

Size communicates on its own but speaks the loudest when used with contrast. Fix the body font size. Make sure it’s large enough to read easily at an arm’s length, but not too large. A good body font size is 14-18 pt for screen. Choose a ratio (2:3) and increment your font sizes by that ratio. This will give your type an important sense of rhythm and structure.

The 2:3 scale applied to create visual hierarchy.

EXAMPLES