How to pick fonts for games?
It seems simple and it is simple, but many people and even huge companies, are making huge mistakes.
The most recent, big, and popular mistake, related to fonts and games was made to Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters. I will tell you everything about this subject a bit later.
Below we will discuss all kinds of games:
– Video games
– Board games
– Computer games
– Card games
– And so on.
After reading this article, you will find out how game developers pick fonts, and how you should do it right.
Before getting on the subject, it is important to discuss the terrible font that was chosen for Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters.
How a terrible font almost destroyed a superb game – Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters?
Before the game was officially launched, people heavily complaint about remaster’s choice of font.
Fans said the font it is too thin and small, and it is very hard to read. In plus, the font is not well paired with the feeling of a classic FF.
This “bad” font was used only for English and other latin-character languages. It seems that for the Japanese people, there is another font used, a much better one. They used the font from the PSP Final Fantasy 1 and Final Fantasy 2.
Here is a picture of the “bad” font.
This font is really hard to read, you need to make an effort to understand the text.
And this is not cool at all.
The good news is that there is a mod that you can use to change the fonts, for both English and Japanese. I wanted to share with you the link but it seems that it is not working anymore.
If you are among the players of Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters, you should search the internet and see where to get the mod from. Pay attention to weird links and files.
So, in the end, how everything went so bad (from a font perspective) for such a great game?
My personal explanation and guess are that it wasn’t the game developers who selected the fonts.
Weird or not, many times they aren’t the persons who decide the fonts.
John Ricciardi co-founder of localization company 8-4 says: “We’ve worked on games where we (as the outsourced localization house) were asked to suggest fonts ourselves, and we’ve worked on games where the Japanese devs had already picked out fonts before we got involved. Sometimes that works out great, and sometimes the fonts chosen are… not the most ideal for the west, and we need to speak up.”
And because of that, bad things might happen. Exact as it did here.
How to pick fonts for games?
It is not so complicated to pick the right fonts for games.
Here is how Brittany Avery – localization editor at Nexon – is doing it:
“I’d actually take a screenshot of the game, photoshop out the Japanese, and then type a sentence in the text box and go through a thousand or so fonts before narrowing down to the potential ones. Maybe I’d have the perfect one in mind, but if there were a few options, I’d put it to a vote. I’d then give the screenshots I made to the devs as a visual guideline.”
And this is what you should do too.
There isn’t a quick way of doing it, just take your time and do plenty of tests.
This is how fonts are selected for all kind of games, for newspapers, websites, landing pages, books, etc.
So if you want to be sure that you’ve picked the right font, do lots of tests and ask for as many opinions as you can.
Find out what people believe about the fonts you’ve selected.
And don’t forget, the font must match your game from all points of view, but even more important, is to be easily readable.
Here are 3 examples of nice fonts for video games
The following 3 fonts are examples of fonts that can easily fit many types of games, including video games.
Take a look at how similar, yet different they are, and think about the impact that these fonts will have on your game.
Download Moonhouse font for video games
2. Ghost Clan
Download Ghost Clan font for video games
3. Imperial One
Download Imperial One font for video games
Picking fonts is a nice exercise that once you do it right, it will help you pick fonts for any project you are in.
Practice, practice, practice.
This is the secret.