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When it comes to direct-mail postcards, your job as a designer is to use your skills to enhance your client's message. From a powerful headline to invigorating body copy, offer and call to action, your design helps readers pick out the most important information and motivate response. Your choice of font plays a large role in the affect of your postcard text.
Here are some fonts that get your client's postcard noticed:
Headlines probably offer the most creative freedom to incorporate unique fonts into your postcard design. Each postcard campaign is different, so there's not necessarily one single tried-and-true font to use. The mood and message of your postcard will dictate your headline font style. Still, there are common conventions your headlines should follow. If you're going for elegance, try a script such as Enviro or Lucida Handwriting. For a strong, bold headline, you can go with New York Deco, Bandstand or Fisherman. For risqué postcards, you could try Chiller, Stonehenge or a similar font - just be careful not to alienate customers with unfamiliar fonts.
You're more restricted in your choice of postcard body copy. Individual body copy letters are smaller than headline letters, so choose an easy-to-read, well-recognized font such as Times New Roman, Arial, Century Gothic, Calibri or Courier. Don't be tempted to try "cute" devices to stand out from the competition - let your graphics and message handle the heavy work here. Body copy fonts should be simple.
Most fonts will stand on their own, but sometimes a little bit of accentuation is just what you need to make your point. Bold fonts, italics, underlines, and other devices can help highlight key points on your postcard. If you use these devices in your postcard design, be judicious - if you overuse them, the technique will lose its effect.
In lieu of using a pre-existing font for your postcard design, you can develop a custom font. Custom fonts are perfect for branding purposes. If you decide to use a custom font, the same basic principles apply: it should be easy to read and pleasant to view. Sometimes, the best custom fonts are slight variations on pre-existing fonts - a slant here, a dot there, a trailing tail, etc.
Postcards don't provide a lot of room to express your ideas with, so fonts serve as convenient tools that can influence your audience in a powerful way. Follow these guidelines for using fonts that get your client's postcards noticed the next time you fire up your favorite design software.