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How to Choose the Right Font for Your Custom T-Shirts

When it comes to custom T-shirt design, choosing the right font is important. You want a font that properly represents your company’s or organization’s culture, or the tone of an event, if you’re designing an event T-shirt. A particular T-shirt font can make or break the message you want to send. If the only thing you know about fonts is to avoid Comic Sans, here are some steps you can follow to choose the correct custom T-Shirt font for your brand or event:

Use Typeface Classifications as Guides

A typeface refers to a family of fonts. A font is a specific style or weight within that typeface. For instance, the Franklin Gothic typeface includes Franklin Gothic Book, Franklin Gothic Demi, Franklin Gothic Demi Condensed, Franklin Gothic Heavy, Franklin Gothic Medium, and others. These all refer to different styles, sizes, and weights within the Franklin Gothic typeface.

Typefaces can be classified in several ways. The most commonly known classifications are serif and sans serif typefaces. Garamond is a serif typeface because it has serif lines on the ends of letters such as G, N, R, and M. Arial is a sans serif typeface because it has no serifs on the ends of its letters.

Other typeface classifications include subcategories and moods. The typefaces in a subcategory share similar characteristics. Some common typeface subcategories include:

  • Humanist Sans Serif (e.g., Gill Sans, ITC Goudy Sans)
  • Grotesque Sans Serif (e.g., Helvetica, News Gothic)
  • Geometric Sans Serif (e.g., Bauhaus, Futura)
  • Old Style Serif (e.g., Centaur, Adobe Garamond)
  • Slab Serif (e.g., Egyptian Slate, Rockwell)
  • Transitional Serif (e.g., Baskerville, Perpetua)
  • Casual Script (e.g., Brush Script, Bianca)
  • Calligraphic Script (e.g., Ballerino, Mistral)
  • Formal Script (e.g., Edwardian Script, Young Baroque)
  • Decorative (e.g., ITC Aftershock, ITC Freddo)

You can read more about the classifications and histories of typefaces here.

Typeface moods are more general and can be subjective. When considering a typeface’s mood or the mood of a font within that typeface, ask yourself what kind of mood it seems to create. Is it happy, sad, straightforward, creative, or quirky? The mood you want to create for your brand or event can lead you to a specific typeface or subcategory of typefaces.

Consider What Kind Fonts You Want to Use

You should use no more than two fonts so your T-shirt design is easy to read and quickly conveys the message you want to send. However, even with just two fonts, you still have plenty of room to play around and get creative. Here are some ways you can pair two fonts together:

  • Use two fonts from the same typeface: Consider putting, for instance, Arial Bold for the first line and Arial for the second)
  • Use contrasting fonts: Common font contrasts involve pairing serif and sans serif fonts.
    Pair fonts from the same subcategory: You can choose, say, two Humanist fonts or two Old Style fonts that work well together.
  • Combine subcategories that work well together: Examine the different typeface subcategories and choose two fonts from subcategories that complement each other.
  • Pair fonts with the same or similar moods: As we said earlier, font moods are subjective, but you can choose a font pairing from two fonts you think have similar moods.

Consult a Custom T-Shirt Design Company

Sometimes, it’s best to get a professional opinion on the fonts you’re choosing for your custom T-shirt design. A professional T-shirt design company like Marathon Sportswear can print the shirts for you, yes, but they can also help you determine which fonts are most appropriate for your brand or event. 

At Marathon Sportswear, we want your company, organization, or event to have quality T-shirts to go with it. If you are interested in our design services, contact us today.