Fonts can make or break a design project. It's also true that designers have a huge collection of fonts installed on their mac. But do they really use it?

Designers have a love/hate relationship with fonts.

I’ll be the first one to admit that is no walk in the park; it requires a lot of practice and some deep understanding (which I’m still trying to achieve by the way).

We all know that fonts can make or break a design project. It’s also universally true that designers tend to have a huge collection of fonts installed on their mac (yes, I’m stereotyping designers, deal with it).

But do they really use it? Or they just like to save them in case they might need an awesome font for the word apocalypse? I mean, can you imagine a sign saying “The end is near” written in Comics Sans? It would be the end of the world to most designers, that’s for sure.

So some folks decided to investigate on this subject and find out if designers really use those cool fonts they like to brag about or not so much. The results, although not shocking, were slightly disappointing.

Inside the study of fonts usage and combinations

Icons8.com decided that the best way to conduct their research was to do it objectively and for some time. They selected the best startups on ProductHunt and analyze their websites.

By the end of their research, they had 967 websites, 2343 fonts of which only 500 were unique.

After compiling the top 50 and the most popular font combination, they realized that designers are just vain people that like to show off but actually end up playing safe (just kidding but I’ll get into that later). The truth is most people use Google Fonts, a lot.

The first five font choices are Helvetica Neue, Menlo, Opens Sans, Roboto, and Segoe UI.

They combine them with Menlo, Open Sans, Roboto, Georgia, and Consolas, respectively, so there isn’t much variation in there either.

Why aren’t the results surprising

Although designers like to risk, they want to make calculated risks even more, and there’s not wrong with that. Most of the times they know that what’s been proven to be good shouldn’t be messed with, especially when it comes to web fonts.

Font systems like Google Fonts exist for a reason: to ensure they are easily used and work in a variety of contexts. Also, throw these systems, designers don’t have to pay small fortunes to have good fonts.

One fun fact they mention in the study is that most people misspell fonts’ names. I can only say, in my own defense, that I’m always frenetically trying to work on multiple ideas at once and memorizing font names is not on my top priority list and probably isn’t to most designers either.

Let me know in the comments if you use Google Fonts a lot or if you prefer to use other font combination resources. And in case you haven’t notice before, Melted is written in Merriweather, who’s also a Google Font. I guess there’s only one thing to say “Olha para o que eu digo, não olhes para o que eu faço.”🤷‍♀️


Also published on Medium.