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Post Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:12 am

sample fonts

Hi all,
I am interested in hanging a board with some sample fonts so people can choose from.
As we all know if you give them too many choices it makes our life a lot harder.
My questions are:
1) How many fonts to display?
2) What types of fonts to cover most sign making needs?
3) What to type as a sample (the whole abc...)?
4) Does any on have a photo on their display - so I can get some ideas.

Any info would be much appreciated

Thanks
Clive
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Post Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:50 am

DON'T SHOW ANY!!!
With so many fonts available, customers will take ages to make up their minds.

Never, let them view them on your computer. I did this before and spent 3/4 of an hour with a customer looking for fonts for a 20 quid sign. In the end he picked the font I suggested at the start!

Nowadays, when a customer asks to view fonts, I tell them that I have literally thousands of options available so, if they don't already know what font to use, they would be better leaving the font choice to me as that is part of my job.
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Post Fri Dec 03, 2004 12:36 pm

1) I'd give them the choice of a couple of dozen or so. That looks like a good selection without letting them take too much time making up their minds.

2) You need a few of each type - serif, sans serif, script etc. If you have some expensive fonts which you have had to buy in the past for a previous job, make sure that you include those and hope that your customer picks one of them. Down the line, when he next needs work done, and gets a price from one of your competitors then they will have to allow for the cost of the font and you will always be able to beat them on price.

3) I don't think it matters much exactly what you show, but I wouldn't go for the whole alphabet because there are too many letters and, on a given sized panel, they will need to be smaller. Better a lower number of larger sized letters. As long as you have a representative selection of letters and numbers to give them the general idea that should be sufficient.

4) No. I haven't got one. :D But that's only because we don't do that much retail work and don't really need one.



JSK.......

If font selection is a problem then don't do it. I've got all mine printed off in four A4 loose leaf folders and if anyone becomes a pain I just pass them the books and let them get on with it whilst I do something useful. I certainly wouldn't waste my time sitting at the computer bringing them up one by one.
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Post Fri Dec 03, 2004 12:57 pm

We are the same as john as we don't have what i call in walk in work. We have 1000's of typefaces and as you can imagine sitting down with a client to go through them could take hours. But if you would like to list some stick with the basic fonts like arial, times new roman, helvetica and things like that. Then maybe put 'These are a small selection of the typefaces we offer' at the bottom of the sign.

But giving them too many options will make them get confuzzled. When we design a sign/logo we give them maybe two or three options using a different typefaces and leave it at that.

Hope this helps

Stephen & Carrie
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Post Fri Dec 03, 2004 1:06 pm

All I've done is covered my shop in signs, all done in different styles. It gives an example of the fonts that can be used and at the same time, the colours and styles.

I agree with whats been said, considering the thousands upon thousands of fonts there are and the fact that they're increasing every day, I wouldn't offer a sample fonts board unless you can come up with something very straight forward. Maybe 20 popular fonts across a range of font familys.

Cheers, Dewi
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Post Fri Dec 03, 2004 1:39 pm

I'm with Dewi AND James Kelly.
While in theory this seems like a good idea, in practice it will get you nowhere.
YOU are the designer, not the customer, that's why they came to you.
Let them tiptoe thru your fonts, and many useless hours will be wasted.
I used to have such a chart, with various sizes for those wanting "a six-inch letter" etc.
so that they could compare sizes & visualize stuff....It was a waste of time.
99% of customers will choose the most butt-ugly unreadable font going.

You'd do far better creating a few sample pieces to showcase your work.
A casual, a classic, a fun, a wild, and an average Joe.
Then, depending on which style or color scheme the client likes, you can get a "feel"
for what they want in a sign.
You are not a McDonald's, with printed menus overhead.
You are a signmaker.
Love....Jill
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Post Fri Dec 03, 2004 2:04 pm

I'm looking in to setting up a website for our customers to browse our fonts at their leisure. They would be given a username & password and could spend as long as they like looking at them without getting under our feet!
If anyone knows of any software that can turn a bunch of fonts in to a a bunch of graphics, let me know :D

Justin
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Post Fri Dec 03, 2004 2:41 pm

Thanks for all your replies.

I find that people that want straight cut vinyl letters ask me what fonts I have. As I have nothing on display, I walk them to the computer where I have a zillion fonts (biggest mistake ever). Too many choices will make them loose my time - for only a small job!
I thought that a small display of ONLY a few fonts would work well.

I'll have to give it some more thought.

Thanks for all your help....
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Post Fri Dec 03, 2004 3:20 pm

Perhaps you could do this then....
print out a selected word, or a panagram
like "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog"
in a few selected fonts that YOU like.
(use a few wild ones, the dreaded Old English, HELLvetica,
a bouncy casual, a Roman, a thick & thin etc, script, maybe 10 total)
Laminate it. Then keep the sheet handy and show it to clients.
This would be on standard 8.5x11' (A4?) paper in black ink.
Love....Jill
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Post Fri Dec 03, 2004 3:31 pm

johnchilds wrote:1)
JSK.......

If font selection is a problem then don't do it. I've got all mine printed off in four A4 loose leaf folders and if anyone becomes a pain I just pass them the books and let them get on with it whilst I do something useful. I certainly wouldn't waste my time sitting at the computer bringing them up one by one.


The problem (or should I say timewasting) occurs when one shows a list of fonts then the client wants to see their name in 10 fonts in normal, bold, italic and bold italic in uppercase, lowercase and mixed-case! Next is the inevitable... "and can you show my name is various colour combinations?".

Who is the designer? If the customer is then he/she would bring their design along. In your shop, they see themselves as the design expert and you are merely a tool for them to play with.

In my book, the best reply is...
"Hmm, if you don't already use a design, your best bet is to leave that to me as that is what I do every day."
I say this a lot and haven't yet had a customer disagree.
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Post Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:15 pm

JSK wrote:DON'T SHOW ANY!!!
With so many fonts available, customers will take ages to make up their minds.


godchild's wrote:1) I'd give them the choice of a couple of dozen or so. That looks like a good selection without letting them take too much time making up their minds.


Carrie wrote:But giving them too many options will make them get confuzzled.


Couldn't have put it better (also learned the hard way)............. I always ask them a number of questions, and in a term they understand, without trying to sound patronizing. It's simply no good talking about serif or sans serifs, script , ascender or descenders, but plain English works best such as, bold, curly, straight, fat or thin, then show them a few examples, and stick to it. If they really want something other than you are showing them, then they probably already know what they want, and ask them to bring you an example.

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