One of the biggest misconceptions among marketers regarding print marketing is that all fonts that look great online will translate cleanly to print. Unfortunately, that isn't the case.

Differences exist between digital-optimized fonts and print fonts that can throw off your messaging and make your print look unprofessional. Knowing the differences between different types of fonts used online and those for print can help a marketer work better with designers to get great results.

There are two types of digital fonts marketers will encounter: Web fonts and desktop fonts.

    Web fonts are designed to upload directly into your CSS on the Web. Modern digital typeface is designed to tackle eye fatigue and make text easier to read (despite wide variations in screen sizes).

    Web font designers typically make adjustments to fundamental type features like font weight, proportion, embellishments, spacing, and shape to make them more appealing both on laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

    On the other hand, those modifications are what make Web fonts unfit for the print environment. Web fonts fundamentally weren't designed to cleanly convert to print and often aren't licensed for print anyway.

    Desktop fonts are designed to be used with desktop programs such as MS Word and Adobe Photoshop and are optimized for print. Those fonts are not optimized for Web use, though in most cases, downloadable font kits will include a Web-ready font along with your desktop font.

    Creating design havoc

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    image of Nicholas Brown

    Nicholas Brown writes for, an online retailer of printing supplies.

    LinkedIn: Nicholas David Brown