Jump to content

 
Photo

What makes a good title font?

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1
Sky Schemer

Sky Schemer

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 119 posts
  • Location:Hillsboro, OR
  • United States

The divergence of the Comic Sans thread got me to wondering about map titles and appropriate fonts. What qualities do you look for in choosing a title font? I realize that this answer depends heavily on the map's purpose and style, but I suspect that there are a limited number fonts that people tend choose from. Certainly, no one here is picking Comic Sans, for instance. :)

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?

#2
Dennis McClendon

Dennis McClendon

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,076 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago
  • Interests:map design, large-scale maps of cities
  • United States

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.

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 Image
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#3
DaveB

DaveB

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,042 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Redlands, CA
  • United States

(maybe stating the obvious?) In addition to other considerations, such as the stuff Dennis mentioned, I think the title font should bear some relation to other text and labels on the map.
Dave Barnes
Esri
Product Engineer
Map Geek

#4
natcase

natcase

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 569 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Interests:cartography
    aeshetics
    cartographic design
    John Bartholomew
    road maps
    large-scale mapping
  • United States

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.

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#5
frax

frax

    Hall of Fame

  • Associate Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,299 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Stockholm, Sweden
  • Interests:music, hiking, friends, nature, photography, traveling. and maps!
  • Sweden

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.
Hugo Ahlenius
Nordpil - custom maps and GIS
http://nordpil.com/
Twitter

#6
natcase

natcase

    Ultimate Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 569 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Interests:cartography
    aeshetics
    cartographic design
    John Bartholomew
    road maps
    large-scale mapping
  • United States

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.

Thanks. It's Avenir Medium. Avenir's kind of our house font around here.

Nat Case
INCase, LLC

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
maphead.blogspot.com



#7
BioGeoMan

BioGeoMan

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 188 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Albuquerque, NM
  • United States

I may be speaking from more of the "art" side of cartography, but I think that the title font should reflect the theme and "feel" of the map. I probably spend more time choosing fonts than labeling features once I choose a font! I don't think there is a general rule concerning what type of font to use. So I guess I am not helping much here, but I would say:
  • 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.
Mike.

Michael Scisco

BioGeoCreations
Albuquerque, NM

505-603-3636
biogeocreations.com





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

-->