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The Best Fonts for T-Shirts – Typography 101

03/19/2019 by RushOrderTees.com

T-shirt Typography

After finally designing a great logo or t-shirt graphic, sometimes the hardest part you’ll run into is picking the right font to go with it. You want your text to go with your design, but not take away from it, and sometimes matching the weight and motion of the graphics can be your biggest challenge. Then, there’s making sure that it’s readable and making sure that it fits the personality of your brand or organization.

Don’t let the decision overwhelm you. Here’s a basic guide to choosing the right text for your t-shirts: 

Font Choice and Font Pairings

Serif vs. Sans Serif font
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When you get to the design studio, the choices can be overwhelming. It helps to know the distinction between serif and sans serif fonts. Generally, serif fonts are said to be easier to read in small body texts, as the serifs connect the letters and make them flow together. If your graphics consist of light lines and wispy edges, you’ll want to go with a serif font as your primary font.

Common serif fonts: Courier New, American Typewriter, Georgia, Palatino Linotype, Book Antiqua, Times New Roman, Western, Droid Serif, Bree Serif

Sans serif fonts, on the other hand, are often used for large headline texts, as they are more blocky. If your t-shirt uses graphics with bold lines and sharp edges, a sans serif font is probably going to fare you better.

Common sans serif fonts: Helvetica, Arial, Arial Black, Tahoma, Verdana, Roboto, Oswald, Futura LT

Sizing & Style Pairing

Text Heavy Race Shirt
Via.

Initially, you’ll need to figure out how much text you actually need to include on your shirt. The answer to this question is going to determine a lot. If your shirts are for an event, you’re probably going to need to include different information than if they’re for a sports team or for a business, therefore you’ll have to include a lot more text.

If you do need to include a lot of information on your shirts, like in the image above, then you’re going to have to use a few different size fonts, while ensuring that the most important information is the biggest and boldest.

Depending on how much and what kind of information you need to include, you’ll need to choose several different fonts to pair together. If you have varying text sizes, it looks nice to combine different font styles, such as a bold serif for the big text and a light sans serif for the body text. There are plenty of online resources where you can learn about specific font pairings that work well.

Messaging & Font Style

Tough Mudder Finisher Shirt
Via.

Another factor that will influence your font choice is what message you want to send with your shirts. A perfect example is the “Tough Mudder” finisher t-shirt, which uses a bold, distressed font to convey the message and brand of the race. Whatever purpose your t-shirt is going to serve will help you decide whether to choose a fun, cutesy, bold, or traditional font.

Tie It Together

While there’s a lot more to choosing the exact font than we have time to go into, this should give you some high-level insight to choosing the right font for your shirt. There are plenty of resources out there about font pairings, as well as spacing, color emphasis, and more. Whether you decide to go with a type that’s bold, fun, or classic, it should be a font that matches your design, as well as reflects your brand, organization, or group.

Our Most Popular Fonts:

  1. Ad Lib BT
  2. Amatic SC
  3. Blade Runner
  4. Brush Script FS
  5. Collegiate
  6. English Ale
  7. Gilligans Island
  8. Harry P (Yes, as in Harry Potter!)
  9. Interstate
  10. Jester Regular
  11. Libre Baskerville
  12. Oswald
  13. Stencil
  14. Western

Bonus Fun Option: Create Your Own Font!

If you’re really ambitious and artistic, you could always create a font style or font styles of your own! There are templates online that you can scan into you computer and use in your t-shirt design. Talk about a unique design!

Use this guide to put the finishing touches on your design, and get started on creating your shirts in our design studio!

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