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How to Find the Right Font: James Victore’s Big Tip

by Hanna Brooks Olsen
art & design, featured

If you’ve ever felt like you didn’t know how to find the right font, you’re not alone. Even seasoned designers sometimes find themselves in the same boat, especially when they’re up to their eyeballs in options.

“I learned a long time ago that there are just too many typefaces out there,” admits James Victore, a living legend in the world of poster design. He knows exactly how overwhelming this particular part of designing can be.

And though that may feel like a modern problem – with a million type websites floating around, everyone under the sun seems to be designing a new script – digital designers aren’t the first to struggle with an overwhelming number of choices.

Back in the day, James says, typefaces were cataloged in actual paper books – which were really more like tomes of text that could hypnotize those who beheld them. They were also a colossal waste of time, because designers weren’t just looking up the fonts they knew and liked. Instead, they were looking for the fonts that meant something. They were hunting for the right font.

Free Watch: How to Find the Right Font

“One day I realized, we’re wasting so much time looking for the ‘right font,'” James explains. So he stopped hunting.

With so many choices and such a heavy weight placed on the pursuit of the perfect font, designers weren’t taking the time to find the type they really liked, or the ones that they knew and could control.

“We weren’t getting good at any of them,” says James. Instead of looking for the perfect new typeface for each job, James has his favorites, which he calls his workhorses.

“I’ve picked maybe five fonts and I use them.”

This approach has drawn some criticism from other designers, who prize the hunt for variant and far-flung fonts, but, James says, “I don’t care about that. That’s not important to me. One, I want to make sure that the words I’m using are quality…and two, I’ve made my life easier by choosing a few fonts and getting good with them.”

Get more great insight from James Victore on the bold art of rogue design, check out his class: Bold & Fearless Poster Design.

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Hanna Brooks Olsen

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.