3️⃣How to pick typefaces

👋 Introduction

Choosing the right typeface is important for your product's design. You need to consider your product's personality, values, and audience. Learn how to pick the right typeface in this module.

1️⃣ Choose a typeface

Native vs Custom fonts

While choosing a typeface, based on your requirement you can choose between native and custom fonts.

Native fonts offer faster loading times, are designed for different screen resolutions, support dynamic type scaling, provide automatic line heights, and support multiple languages. On the other hand, custom fonts ensure brand presence and consistency across all platforms.

Use system fonts for apps that…

…need to be performant across devices and optimised for scale

Apps like WhatsApp, Messages, Telegram, some social media apps, Notion, Slack, Rapido uses system fonts

Use custom fonts for apps that…

…need a balance of brand, style and performance.

Apps like Uber, Spotify, Nike, Headspace, etc. are known to use custom fonts

Picking custom typefaces

To select the right custom typefaces for your product, delve into the product’s core attributes and personality. This involves:


Determine if the product is playful, serious, luxurious, approachable, innovative, or traditional. Choose typefaces that align with this personality. You could use serif fonts for tradition and sans-serif for modernity. If your product wants to come off as friendly, a script/handwritten font will work well.

Apps like Duolingo use playful typefaces because they come off as a friendly educational app. On the other hand, apps like Any Distance use bold & strong typefaces since they want to come off as a bold fitness app.


Understand the product’s values. Opt for typefaces that resonate with these values; for instance, clean and minimalistic fonts for simplicity.

Apps like Zara use luxury typefaces because they market themselves as a luxury product. On the other hand, apps like Calm uses modern typefaces since they market themselves as a mental wellness product.

Target Audience

Identify the intended audience. Different demographics respond to various typeface styles. Use bold and modern typefaces for youth-oriented products, and classic and elegant fonts for mature audiences.

Apps like Duolingo Math use playful typefaces because they are mostly targeted for the kids. On the other hand, The Wall Street Journal, which has a wide readership across ages, uses classic typefaces.

For a strong personality, consider exploring stylised typefaces for headings. Typography will form a significant part of the product.

Apps like The New Yorker, Duolingo, etc. contain stylised typefaces for headings

2️⃣ Ensure versatility of the typeface

When selecting a typeface, it is important to ensure its versatility. Check for the following things:

1️⃣ It contains legible details

Make sure the details of individual characters are legible. It should be easily readable and comprehensible.

See the similarities between the uppercase “I” (I for Iceland), lowercase “l” (l for log), and numeral “1” characters or uppercase “O”, lowercase “o”, and numeral “0” characters.

2️⃣ The basic weights and styles should be present

The typeface should have a range of weights and styles, such as regular, italic, and bold.

Typefaces with multiple weights and styles can be useful in most scenarios.

For more control and flexibility, look for fonts that have multiple weights (not just regular, medium, bold) and styles beyond italics.

3️⃣ It has enough multi-language support for your audience

Language support becomes essential when a brand operates globally or aims to target international markets.

If your brand is global, ensure that your typeface includes non-Latin characters that you might need.

4️⃣ It has alternate glyphs

If your product has long body text, alternate glyphs can improve readability. It is also a good idea to use stylistic ligatures and glyphs in titles.

5️⃣ It has multiple widths

If your product is information-dense, multiple widths will provide a wide range of options to pack information while maintaining the design aesthetic.

6️⃣ It has different optical sizes

If your product relies heavily on titles, picking a typeface with optical sizes will help elevate your designs.

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