What Font should you Use?

Apr 29th, 2010 | By Allison | Category: Freelance Writing, Writing Tips

Most clients of mine specify certain style details when we start working together. Client A wants a bold-faced headline with no headings or bullet points and single spacing. Client B wants everything in a .txt file with at least three headings per article. I actually have a file where I save all style directions to that I send my clients exactly what they want.

But what about font? The vast majority of people on my schedule haven’t mentioned font at all. When I work with other writers, I notice that people use different fonts when writing. There are a few that work well, though I have to say…sometimes, the wrong font can look downright unprofessional.

Size

Most clients pay per number of words, but occasionally, you’ll have a client who pays per page. Using a larger font that usually is a way that some writer pad their work. I’m all for doing less work for the same money, but I’ve always found the practice pretty deceptive. To be honest, when a font is big, I’m turned off immediately, even if pay is per word. Don’t send files that look like they’re meant for people who have eye problems. 10 pt or 12 pt is best (depending on the font you choose).

Serifs

The major two fonts used, at least in my experiences, are Ariel and Times New Roman. These fonts both work well. The major difference between them? Serifs. A serif is that little detail on the end of letters’ strokes, and fonts without serifs (sans serif), look more blocky. Check out the picture above – the red on the font is showing the serifs.

Ariel does look cleaner. I’ll give you that. Personally, though, I’m a TNR fan. There can been studies that have found that serif-ed fonts are actually a bit easier to read. When I’m editing my own work, even a slight advantage is a good thing. I think both Ariel and TNR are good choices - just stay away from anything goofy-looking that takes serifs too far.

Consistancy

The type of font your use is less important that being consistent. When you send in a batch of articles, they should all be formatted the same way, using the same font. It just looks professional. Also, don’t use different fonts within a single article (like Ariel for the body and TNR for the headings). It doesn’t look clean.

When in doubt, ask your client for preferences. He or she may be working with dozens of writers, and if you send articles that don’t have to be reformatted at all, it will help set you apart from the crowd.

A version of this post, written by me, was first published on b5media’s Bizzia website. It is reposted here with permission.

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