Top Eight Calligraphy Fonts

I have been on a bit of a calligraphy kick lately. I've always loved calligraphy fonts, but the pull to create my own lettering has set in. I found an old calligraphy kit from when I was younger that I never used (the kit came with everything but ink #fail) and mixed up some ink with my watercolours and have been practicing away.

There are so many great letterers & calligraphers out there, from Kelly to Lauren to Molly to Lindsey to Emily, that researching what nibs are best, what pens to use, what ink doesn't smudge, etc. has been so enjoyable. I'm certainly not excellent at it yet, but I'm definitely getting better! It's really fun to create letters with a nib & ink, something lost when using a digital font.

But, for those moments when something digital must be used, these 8 fonts are perfect. The top four are free to download, and the bottom four are premium. To me, the different between a calligraphy font and a script font is the weight of the letters. Scripts are generally the same weight across the whole letter, whereas calligraphy fonts thicken & thin the way they would if it were handwritten. I'm especially smitten with Carolyna Pro Black at the moment - it's how I would want my calligraphy to look :)

Anything you're smitten with lately?


Ampersand Love

Ampersands are one of my favourite things, along with botanical prints. Design like this & this just make me happy, so I wanted to experiment.

Above are all oak leaves from the International Oak Society (did you know there was such a thing?). I'm not the best at keeping plants alive (my basil is looking pretty sad...) but I love botanical images, especially the big charts. Takes me back to science class :)

I need more ampersands in my life - I'm thinking a print, but a pillow would do just fine too. Any favourites out there?


Missed out on BlogPodium?

Now's your chance to get in on all the awesome, because many of the presentations are now online!

You can download a pdf version of my talk, Photoshop for Bloggers, and get learning! I think everything should make sense without my commentary, but if you have any questions about it, leave them in the comments on this post.

As a little sneak peak, I thought I would share two of my favourite slides from my presentation: my favourite fonts & the font sins!
favourite fonts

font sins
You can read more about my favourite fonts here and the font sins here!

My favourite thing was reading this tweet from @talbanystyle after my presentation:
Oh Papyrus, what will we ever do with you??


My Top Fonts

Trend Sans, Castro Script, Didot, Montserrat, Veneer, Baskerville
When I'm putting together these font posts, I always try to share fonts that I actually use (unless it's a round-up of new fonts). And since these six seem to be in constant rotation lately, I thought I should share!

Trend Sans - I bought the whole Trend family when it was first introduced (and on a crazy sale) and am so ridiculously glad I did. I cannot say enough good things about this font family, especially Trend Sans. Looks good small, looks good huge, and everything in between. I use it all the time on things I design for the blog (see the top of the image? 'that I use all the time' is Trend Sans) and quite a lot on client projects too.

Castro Script - This script is so good. I prefer it slightly to Learning Curve Pro, but I do use both. I love the way it flows and doesn't look too formal, while still looking pretty classy - if that makes sense haha

Didot - Such a classic! This is what I used for my header, and it's the only font I used on my business cards. I use it a lot on things I design for the blog too - love how it looks in all caps, or lowercase italic is pretty awesome too.

Montserrat - This is probably the newest addition to the list, but it's going to be around for a while. It's a web-font, so it's perfect to use for my client work, but it works great as a desktop font too. I love the letters and how they look - some sans-serif just look off to me.

Veneer - I held off on buying this font for a long time, until I found it on a crazy sale one week. I've since used it on two blog designs (hodge:podge and Saige Wisdom) and the cover of my eBook! It comes with various 'weights' so it can look as eroded as you like.

Baskerville - This font has been in my favourites for years (probably 7-ish?). It goes through phases where I don't use it as much, but whenever I need a good solid serif, I usually try Baskerville first. And if you didn't know, that gorgeous ampersand that you find everywhere is Baskerville Italic :)

Honorable mentions to this list would be BD Paris Bold and Thirsty Rough, while past inductees would include Signerica and Josefin Slab.

What tops your list at the moment?

ps, I'm hosting a giveaway over on Michaela's blog
You could win a design credit & a copy of my eBook!!!

Six Fonts That Are Awesome For Body Copy

While writing my eBook, I knew I would need to find the perfect font for the text - especially because the book is about design and there's a whole section on font sins!

I ended up going with Calibri for the body, and Learning Curve Pro for some of the subtitles, but the options out there are endless!! Thought it might be a good idea to round up some of my favourites in case any of you are writing an eBook too :)

Any of these six could be used in an eBook or print form, and most would look good online too (especially the serifs). If you're looking for a few other ideas for online body fonts, Trebuchet & Georgia are two of my favourites.

You can still enter to win a copy of Blog Design Essentials (I'm giving away 10 copies!!!) until tomorrow night :)

What are some of your favourite body fonts to use?


Six Fonts You Should Never, Ever Use

Also known as the The Font Sins.

I've been working on a project (announcing it Thursday!) and part of it has been making a list of fonts that should never be used. I feature so many awesome fonts, but I had to make sure you weren't using these fonts. If you have, that's okay, just promise not to ever again - even I used a few of these before I knew better.
Offender #1 - Comic Sans
 I mean, you kind of expected it right? You can't have a list of font sins and not include Comic Sans. I see this used and I'm baffled. The only possible project you should ever use this on is a comic book, and even then, there's so many more options. If you want something fun, try Orange JuiceUpdate: A few teachers pointed out in the comments that there are not many common fonts out there that have the 'a' written the way they teach students to write an 'a' - so teachers, you do indeed have possibly the only valid reason to use Comic Sans haha

Offender #2 - Papyrus
 We have all used Papyrus at some point - remember that tea-stained Egyptian paper you did in grade 4? - but promise me you will never use it again. You want something that looks old and worn? Try Veneer.

Offender #3 - Curlz
 This one makes me shudder. Please stop trying to make this font happen. Just please stop, okay? It's just never acceptable. Instead, try Sacramento.

Offender #4 - Mistral
 I understand that you want to use a font that looks handwritten, but this one is just so ugly. There is no excuse for ugliness, especially when there are SO many beautiful scripts. Try Insolente or Bombshell.

Offender #5 - Lucida Handwriting
 Again, why use an ugly script when there is such an abundance of gorgeous ones? Learning Curve would be a fantastic substitute for this.

Offender #6 - Impact
If you want to use a font to make an impact, don't use this one. It's just...don't. Try Nexa Slab or Bebas Neue.

Other Offenders: Zapfino, Marker Felt, Arial.

What other fonts make you shudder?


Font Love: Web Fonts

I've shared some of my favourite free fonts before here & here, but after the lovely Kory told me about Montserrat, I realized how many gorgeous web fonts I'd been missing out on. So I went in search of some new favourites to share with you all! 

Love the swashes on Cherry Swash, and Lily Script is a great bold script. Montserrat only makes me love bold sans serifs even more. League Script has such a beautiful flow and Elsie has the sweetest serifs.

The list could go on forever - seems like there's always new web fonts to discover! Which is a very good thing :)


Font Love: Free Serifs

Decided to play with the layout for today's font post - not sure if it's most useful, but it sure is fun :)

And bonus - all of these fonts are 100% free! Even Geotica, which I found on myfonts. Good tip: even if you're not looking to pay for fonts, a lot of premium font sites still have free fonts that most people might not know about because they don't realize they're there.

Hope you're week is off to a good start!

Font Love: Dingbats

Peoni Patterns, Adhesive No. Seven, Melany Lane Patterns, Bergamot Ornaments, Mr Moustache Accessories
When I think of dingbats, I think of those odd fonts that come standard on all computers - those fonts you never know what to do with and rarely, if ever, use. Know the ones I'm talking about?

But there are some dingbat fonts now available that are so awesome! They come with shapes, symbols, patterns, and frames. I find myself using these fonts a lot - especially Peoni Patterns & Bergamot Ornaments. There are so fun and much easier to use than a brush or stamp.

Did you know dingbats could be fun? What's your favourite dingbat font?


Font Love: Free Fonts!

There are so many great premium or paid fonts out there, but sometimes they're just not in the budget. Free fonts are great, but so many of them are only free for personal use, not commercial. This is why I love FontSquirrel - every font on there is 100% free for commercial use. And they have some good fonts. Some of my all time favourite fonts have come from that site, and today I wanted to share just a few of them :)

Learning Curve Pro and it's dashed friend have been favourites for a long time, same with Euphoria Script. Seaside Resort NF is what I used for my June calendar, and Amatic SC is such a good handwritten font. Langdon is newer to me, but it is SO good. Love that it comes with a shadow, something usually reserved for premium fonts.

Any that you're off to download? What are your favourite free fonts?


Font Love: Handwritten Scripts

To me, a handwritten script is the perfect blend of fanciful script & messy handwriting. They have a slightly imperfect quality - a gap here, squiggle there - that gives them that 'messy' feel.

Some of my favourites - been using a few of these for years! War Letters is a newer find but I love it - need to find the perfect project for it. St Andrew's Queen is everywhere - pretty sure it (or something very similar) is on some bread packaging here in Canada! And Arsenale White has that perfect kid-like quality while still being readable.

Which is your favourite?


Font Love: Bold Sans Serifs

I'm still a little tired from the weekend, and I had another post planned for today, but it just wasn't coming together, so I've got some gorgeous fonts instead :)

Sans serifs are everywhere. You're reading my blog with one right now! Some work better when they're thin, and some work better when they're bold and chunky. I've rounded up some of my favourite chunky sans serifs :) And yes, this may be to appease my lusting over Brandon Grotesque. (I shared it a few weeks ago with some other fonts I want. It's so expensive but so perfect)
Europe Underground, Ostrich Sans, Century Gothic, Futura, Trend Sans

I also decided to use the same text so you could compare them all. There's certain letters that you can sometimes identify fonts by - G's are good, same with M's or N's. There's oh-so-slight differences that can make a big impact. Also note the spacing and width and height of the letters. Sans serifs make look simple, but don't let that deceive you. They are vastly different and can change the whole look of a project.

Europe Underground, Ostrich Sans, Century Gothic, Futura, Trend Sans
You probably already have Century Gothic & Futura on your computer, and Europe Underground & Ostrich Sans are free (for personal use), but Trend Sans is part of the premium Trend family. You can buy it separate from the family, which does help the cost.

Which sans serif do you gravitate towards?