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Is Arial the way?

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Is Arial The Way?

Before every article, I choose a font. The selection depends on whether I want the copy to have a whiff of luxury or cool; to be cultured or aloof; to seem chatty and light. One could see this process as a waste of time, of course, given that my editors will use their own preferred font and discard mine. But I’d quibble: I think having a suitable, pleasing font helps me to strike the right tone (as well as providing some geeky satisfaction).

How much do you consider fonts when issuing a press release or pitch email? In many cases you may have a house style, never to be deviated from, or perhaps an agreed font per client. If so, make sure that — if nothing else — it is legible. Last week I received an email whose text was so extravagantly squiggly and flowery that I thought it must be a wedding invitation; I was halfway to finding my tuxedo before realising my mistake. And yes, sure: the release might have indirectly told of a classy, elegant property. But it failed to tell me anything else.
By contrast, a well-chosen font can reap rewards. A release about two new Tokyo
restaurants that I received in June from Camron PR sticks in my mind for that very reason (hence why I’ve made it my press release of the day, despite its age). I never had a chance to use either restaurant, but that cool, funky font made me pay closer attention to the content its words were describing.
What else? Bigger – perhaps size 12 – is generally better in the name of clarity. Aim for paragraphs of up to six lines — any longer looks a bit daunting to the reader – and not too many of them. And use emboldened or underlined text with restraint. A little bit of bold, highlighting USPs, seems eminently sensible; have three or four instances per paragraph, however, and you risk giving the recipient a headache. The same applies to underlining.
Finally, multi-coloured text seems a bad idea – too much of a visual overload, too frenetic. I’d stick instead to black or similarly dark hue.
Let’s be clear: none of this is as important as the content of your release (assuming I can actually read the damn thing). Not nearly. But it can make a discernible difference.

What Richard Thinks…

“As gushed about above!  The slender, airy fond positively screams ‘design’ — which is highly appropriate in a story that’s partly about that.” 

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