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. Great t-shirt design can accomplish a lot of things. Ideally, your t-shirt should represent your brand well, look fantastic, and clearly communicate a message that makes the wearer proud. 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.

Unless you’re around fonts a lot, spending time sifting through all of them to find the right one can be tedious and monotonous. However, it’s absolutely worth it to do, because even the most subtle differences in font can make a world’s difference.

Don’t let the decision overwhelm you. Here are a few pointers when choosing the right text for your t-shirts:

How to Choose a Font: Types, And What They’re Good For

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

How to Choose Your Font

Asking these three questions will help you narrow down your font options.

1. Who is my target audience?
This is an important question in all of your marketing decisions and is no different when creating a shirt that you want to accurately communicate your brand. If you’re the marketing department of a tech company, odds are you’ll want to use a nice, clean Sans Serif font. Or, if you make motorcycle-inspired clothing brand, you may want to stay clear of curly or bubbly script fonts and opt for something a bit more rugged.

2. What message am I trying to send?
Are you sending a sensitive touchy-feely message? Bold and direct? Warm and friendly? Believe it or not, these emotions actually do matter when it comes to fonts and how the message is received.

3. What matters the most: looks or readability?
If getting your message across loud and clear is of the upmost importance, you’ll want to go with a font that is easy to read. However, if the design itself is more important than the actual words, then choosing a decorative display font might be the way to go.

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 into 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.

Let us help you from start to finish! Our design team is ready to create a t-shirt that speaks your brand and message just perfectly!