Social Media Graphics: Typography

There are some really great tools available for creating eye-catching social media graphics and assets. These tools make it easy for everyone to create their own graphics without needing expensive software or lots of know-how—reducing or outright removing barriers to entry for folks. 

AND. There's some best practices that will help you make eye-catching graphics that are easy to read and accessible to your whole audience. Accessible graphics are key to building audience trust, so let's look at some ways to make your content accessible.

The first topic is in this multi-part series is typography, referring to typefaces or fonts that you use in your graphics. It can be really trendy to include handwritten styles, or fill a graphic with lots of text to fit important details or a longer message on the image.

Yet, these trends can leave folks in your audience frustrated and confused enough to skip your graphic altogether.

This doesn't mean you can never use script or handwritten style headings in your images. It does mean planning your graphic carefully to ensure maximum readability (not just legibility).

Let's look at an example of a social media graphic where the font choices make it nearly impossible to read.
A social media graphic sample consisting of script font heading and script font text block which is difficult if not impossible to read.

The heading font has too many thin lines to be easily read by some, though it's definitely a popular style. Consider using a heavier font weight, if you have that option, or adding an outline. Otherwise, choose a font that has less contrast, where the line thickness doesn't have as much variation.

The body text in this example is so tiny, and the font is a formal style script, which is challenging for many to read, even if it weren't so tiny as this example. Formal script style fonts tend to lean forward quite a bit. They may also have extra flourishes that make it hard to distinguish between letters. 

For any text that isn't a heading or subheading, choose a font style that is meant for reading—bonus if it was designed for reading on screens! One of my favourites for body text is Lato. It's available across a wide variety of platforms and services, and it's friendly for many types of reading and learning disabilities. 

In the second example here, the heading font has been updated to a style that has thicker lines, so the shape of the letters isn't getting quite as lost in the background. Since this heading is just a single word, it's less of a risk to use a script style font here.

An updated version of the earlier hard-to-read social media graphic. The heading font has been updated to a thicker style script, and the body text has been updated to a clear sans serif.

Additionally, the body text has been switched to a sans serif style font: Lato.

Already there's a big difference in how this graphic feels, even though the text is the same between both examples. 

Follow these additional tips to level-up your graphic game:

  • Limit your graphic to 2-3 font styles max.
  • Choose a serif or more complex font style for simple headings.
  • Use sans serif fonts for blocks of text or body text.
  • Choose fonts that match the tone of the text. Avoid "fun" fonts for serious messages, for example.
  • Remember to keep images accessible. Add a caption or image descriptions, sometimes called alt text, to ensure that everyone can access your content!

Check back soon for the next topic: whitespace!

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