Communication Resources: Fonts and Typography

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By: Hannah Schreiner, MHTF

The following is part of a series of posts by Hannah Schreiner from our knowledge management team aimed at sharing communication resources to those who work on organizational websites and blogs (including graphic and web designers). This particular post focuses on fonts and typography. To read other posts in the series, click here.

Whether you work for profit or not for profit, your communications are essential to the message your organization is trying to send. Working at the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth, I’ve come to realize the importance of good design and open resources to further our communications to the maternal health community. This community includes field workers, traditional birth attendants, doctors, nurses, researchers, advocates, etc. One audience segment which is often forgotten are entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs in this field are usually involved in small startups aimed at solving a particular problem in a particular area or region. Whether you’ve invented a pen that can screen pregnant women and newborns for life-threatening conditions or created mobile phone apps to support local health workers in Africa, the design of your communications is important to ensure that your work is used and recognized.

The typography in a design is very important, since this is where most of the information in the design is conveyed to the audience. These same words can be displayed in different ways using various fonts to create emotional, cultural, or stylistic connotations. When designing your communications, it’s important to know what reaction you want to invoke, and which font you want to use to make that happen.

There are a lot of graphics and web resources and information that are made available to the public. Below are some resources where you can find both fonts for sale and free. is an excellent resource. They have over 15,000 fonts that you can buy or download for free. You can also submit fonts to this site. Dafont also has links to tools and programs that allow you to edit and personalize fonts on your own, and to also keep them organized. There are quite a few sites like dafont, such as,, and

There are also small blogs and collectives created by graphic designers to provide quality fonts for free. My two favorites are The League of Moveable Type, and the Lost Type Co-op. Both of these are collections of open source fonts, directly coming from the designer. The League is free, and at Lost Type, you can name your price for the font, or type “0” to download it for free! 100% of the funds from the sales go directly to the designers.

WhatTheFont is a helpful resource if you encounter a typeface you like and don’t know the name of it. Simply upload a picture of the lettering and WhatTheFont will tell you! You can also download it as an app for your iphone. If you are at a loss or need some inspiration, Fonts In Use is a great resources to see real-world typography.

In the next few weeks there will be another post in the series focusing on image resources!