How to Install Fonts and Why You Should

Posted on June 22, 2023 | Updated on June 22, 2023

One of the elements graphic designers work with most is fonts. Whether it’s something clean cut for a high-end business or something whimsical for a childcare facility, they’ll face their fair share of typography. However, that means they’ll also soon find the limit of what their design program of choice has to offer. Limited options result in stunted creativity, which can lead a designer to stare at their screen and scratch their head over their next client’s request. Instead of experiencing artist’s block, learn how to install fonts.

Installing fonts is a bit of a process, but it will become methodical once the user gets used to it. It’s a somewhat hidden feature graphic designers can utilize to step up their projects and make themselves stand out to clients. But is doing so essential to a professional’s workflow? Here is a look at how to install fonts and load them into a program, as well as why choosing unique fonts is vital.

How to Install Fonts

While there are paid options, this piece will use a free font source as a basis. With this in mind, here is how to install fonts.

1. Choose One You Enjoy

Naturally, the first step is to find a font that meets the project’s needs. Sites like DaFont offer categories and further niches so designers can narrow their options. For example, its Script category offers Handwritten, Graffiti, Calligraphy and many more subsections. Browse the offerings and choose one befitting what the client wants.

2. Tap “Download”

Next, all one needs to do is find the “Download” button on the site they’re using and click it. On DaFont, that button is on the right hand side of the screen. The font package should download in a zipped file.

3. Unzip the File

To install the font, the user must unzip the file first. If there’s not an unzipper downloaded on their computer, it should provide options for free and paid programs that can do the job. Once the unzipper does its work, the font is nearly ready.

4. Install the Font

Find where the font is now located — usually in the computer’s Downloads folder — and double click it if using a Mac OS. This should bring up a box where the designer can click “Install.” Windows users can right click on the file and navigate to “Install,” which will initiate the same process. Now, the font should be ready to go into the professional’s design application of choice.

Loading Fonts into the Whole Computer

The double-click step will install a font so one user can access it in a design program, but other profiles on the same device won’t have the same ability. There is an extra step to give the font to the whole computer.

The one with access to the font file will have to drag that file into the Fonts folder on the computer. They can find it by navigating to Users, then Library, then Fonts. Alternatively, just type “Library” into the system’s search feature. Then, scroll down to Fonts and drag the downloaded file into the folder.

When following the first method, a user simply installs the font into their app rather than giving it to the whole computer. This could lead to issues when other users try to access the design and get errors or something entirely incorrect. Installing the file into the entire system ensures everyone sees the same thing and can make updates accordingly.

Why Should You Download Additional Fonts? 

After going through the whole process of installing new fonts, is doing so worth it? As a professional graphic designer, it likely is.

One of the biggest things that will catch an onlooker’s eye is the font on the page, logo, billboard or poster. Not only do different typefaces elicit various emotional responses, but they can help what the viewer is looking at stand out from everything else. Recent estimates show the average person will view up to 10,000 advertisements daily. The best way for a graphic designer to drive results and increase client satisfaction is to use varying fonts, which is difficult without downloading any.

Additionally, people don’t care about ads that just want to sell them a product or service. In fact, this advertising method is likely what has driven the favorability of viewing advertisements to an all-time low of twenty-five percent. Fonts help set the tone of an ad and encourage emotion. In a world where people’s attention spans are dropping and ad placements proliferate, picking an eye-catching font can mean the difference between conversions and getting ignored.

Of course, visuals are key to excellent graphic design — and they’re becoming more crucial in advertising. Of the members of Generation Z one survey polled, 40% preferred short videos as their choice of ad viewing. In order to get everything necessary across in one small clip, brands will likely turn to graphic designers to choose unique and scannable fonts. Professionals must learn how to install fonts to keep up with this emerging marketing tactic and keep people looking.

Creating effective graphic designs is essential to break from the crowd and the competition. In this learning process, consider looking at the designs competitors put out. Is there an opportunity to stand out and attract new audiences?

Can You Make Your Own Fonts?

Yes, if a designer runs out of fonts or can’t find anything that suits their needs, they can make their own font. This could be beneficial as a resource for other professionals or become a form of side income. Alternatively, keeping them to oneself ensures the typeface is truly a stand-out since it can only come from one person. Either way, learning how to make a font can help a graphic designer find individuality that supports their career.

First, take to pen and paper to sketch out what the typeface will look like. Those who prefer a tablet can draw there, but don’t jump into any font-creating software yet. Just take the time to flesh out every idea and outline what each letter or symbol will look like in italics, bold, lower and upper case.

Once there’s a clearer picture of the typeface, choose a program to create the font with. While many options will require payment, applications like FontForge are free and run on all operating systems. Install one of these programs and either upload images of the sketched font into it or start drawing everything once again. While redrawing might seem tedious, it offers the chance to make additional tweaks.

Finally, start using the font and see how everything goes together. There may be some awkward collisions, but this is the time to iron out all the kinks and ensure every element is cohesive. Test the new font’s readability with multiple people before using it — they might catch errors or accidents the designer can’t idenify after staring at the characters for so long.

Learning How to Install Fonts Is Essential for Graphic Designers

Whether a graphic designer holds a position at a business or operates as a freelancer, it is crucial to learn how to install fonts. Doing so can help drive results, please current clients and entice future patrons. Surfing the internet or learning how to create new fonts can cement a graphic designer’s professional title.

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.

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