The importance of wedding typefaces
It seems to be a given that the term wedding stationery is associated with a certain choice of typeface, such as Edwardian Script, Lucida Handwriting or the ever-popular Monotype Corsiva. Why this is the case I’m not really sure. For those who don’t know what a typeface is, let me explain – it’s the font you choose when typing a letter or writing up a report and the choice of typeface, to me, is nearly as important as the words that wear it. The medium is the message after all. For some reason some in the wedding stationery world have opted for wedding words to be written in fancy, italicized and script fonts as these are seen to match the wedding ‘message’.
Having studied a degree in graphic design under someone who could only be described as a typefaceophile, I learned about the nuances of typefaces and just how important they truly are to a piece of design. And let us not forget that a wedding invitation may represent many things to both the sender and the recipient, but it is still ultimately a piece of design, and so the choice of typeface is vital.
I’ve often wondered around wedding fairs looking at the stationery selections on offer and been saddened by what I’ve seen – it’s become quite dominated in some areas by a kind of ‘crafty’ person who can create beautifully crafted invitations but knows nothing about typography, it’s seen as an after-thought, something which comes after the crafted aesthetic.
To prove my point, how many of us have ever received a beautiful invitation worded in Edwardian Script, only to find the RSVP postcode illegible because it’s written in capital letters, which render this particular script typeface unreadable to all but the truly dedicated (if you don’t believe me give it a try!). It’s a great typeface to accentuate couple’s names on an invitation, but truly terrible when it comes to rendering practicalities, such as addresses.
So, my advice would be when choosing a wedding stationer find someone who when questioned about typefaces can offer a good, wide range of classic faces as well as just scripts and who can tailor the invitation to your needs and what suits the invitation style, not just slot in your wording into a limited pre-done template. One question to ask them will demonstrate their typeface knowledge – ‘is it a digital italic or an italicized font?’, if they look at you blankly, then assume that typography is not their strong point!
What many people don’t know about typefaces is that some of the oldest and best-looking ones have to be licensed and paid-for, hence the proliferation of some absolutely awful fonts on many PCs, but to help you out I’ve suggested ten truly lovely typefaces which would grace any wedding invitation that you should be able to find on an average computer. And remember, the typeface you choose says something about you and your wedding day, so make sure it’s hitting all the right notes!
10. Baskerville – a nice, classy, timeless face.
9. Franklin Gothic – clean, rounded, simple and elegant.
8. Trajan Pro – yes, it’s used by all the film posters, but it’s still a classic!
7. Perpetua – designed by Eric Gill, designer of Gill Sans, used widely by the BBC.
6. Palantino – based on calligraphic handwriting.
5. Times – over-used, but it’s overused for a reason!
4. Cambria – One I use quite a lot
3. Garamond – the old ones are the best!
2. French script – this one is at least quite legible!
1. Lucida bright – quite a perky, friendly face!
Avoid at all costs: Comic Sans, Tahoma, Ariel, Edwardian Script (use only as an accent typeface), Brush Script, Cooper Black, Bradley Hand!