What makes a good title font?
Posted 20 September 2007 - 10:53 AM
As a novice who is still learning the ins and outs of making maps, I admit that picking a title font is one of my stumbling blocks. Or picking any font, really, but the title especially since it's so prominent. What do you look for in a font for a thematic map? A general reference map?
Posted 20 September 2007 - 04:10 PM
I like to think of it as more like a newspaper headline, and feel the map should, in some sense, hang from the title. So I like to use blocky sans-serifs that cluster densely together. Frequently I'll put a dark bar all the way across the top edge of a map, and reverse the heading out of it. At the moment, I'm keen on "darken" effects, like the middle example below, that let the background show through. A simple legend, particularly if it's only colors, can then subtly be tucked into the right hand side, as can things like a date or source. Before anyone else points it out, I'll confess that this is a personal graphic preference more than a design requirement, and that it's a lot more appropriate for a small (page size or smaller) map than a large one.
A couple of examples:
Posted 21 September 2007 - 09:12 AM
Posted 18 October 2007 - 06:44 AM
The biggest fault I see is people using too weak and spindly a font for a title. You'll see a 36 x 48-inch map with a little 30-point Times Roman head centered over the top in a sea of white space.
Not disagreeing with Dennis per se, but I actually like the white space treatment when there's a poseter with that kind of room. I don't get to do it often, but it is a pleasure when I can (for example or another example). Attaching the map title as Dennis has done is a good idea when there are more than one map elements on a sheet or in a publication.
In any case, the sizing rule-of-thumb I use is: the type needs to be big enough that when you are looking at the sheet as a whole, you can clearly read the name and identify it as the title for the whole sheet or for the map/inset within that sheet. The type can be spindlier if it's against a big empty white space than if it's in a smaller text block, but it needs to be big enough to be read as a title, proportional to the whole page/sheet.
Posted 18 October 2007 - 11:38 AM
Posted 18 October 2007 - 01:30 PM
Thanks. It's Avenir Medium. Avenir's kind of our house font around here.
Nat, what font is it that you are using for the title on the highway map? Looks very classy, with a slight retro feel, I think. I thought Gill Sans first, but the S's look different on the font I have.
Posted 18 October 2007 - 07:41 PM
- If you can't read it, change it
- Place it in a clear, designated space
- Try not to be too ornamental in the style of font or graphics in and around it
- Make sure it says what you are trying to say with the map
- Don't be boring (unless that's the point)
- Titles don't always have to be horizontal or stacked. Try curves, vertical lettering, kerning levels, and font size differences within the title
Just my opinion, leave it or consider it.
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