Considerations When Using Different Fonts with Variable Data
Fonts have different personalities and convey different moods. A typeface or font to suit the personality or the attributes of a specific individual or group may be the element that makes designs resonate with the viewer. Today’s variable printing technology makes it possible to tailor typography to the audience, but using fonts in variable documents can be tricky. Fonts will display differently, depending on their attributes.
Font Considerations for Variable Documents
When designers create a variable project, they leave spaces in the documents in which the software will place the variable text. Because data files are not always available at design time, designers can guess how much space to reserve for variable data. Choosing a font that is too large for the data will result in unwanted line breaks or printing on static graphics or text. A font that is too small results in odd-looking unused document spaces.
For mail communications, printers should ensure that they use font sizes and styles that meet U.S. Postal Service standards for automated mail. The elements of the address block must fit within the space of the label or window of the envelope.
When the same document template is used to display variable data rendered in different fonts, some tradeoffs may be necessary. Even though the chosen fonts share the same point size, they will likely include variations in width, thickness, kerning, leading, and other attributes that affect how variable elements fill the space they are entitled to. Reserve.
Consider a 30-character line of text with an abundance of large characters such as W’s, em dashes, or capital letters. This will consume more space than a 30 character line populated with many narrow characters like lowercase i’s and l’s.
Analyzing the data before production will help determine at least the longest and shortest number of characters to insert. Printers may suggest design adjustments or a change in font selection based on their data file evaluations, but adjustment for all length and character combinations is probably not possible.
Variable size images will make the prediction space even more prediction space for the varying text around them difficult. Designers should be encouraged to include varying images and photos of constant size and shape.
If working with multiple fonts for variable text is more complicated, why would you want to run projects that use this technique? Well, it depends on the intended use of the printed parts and the variability of the target audience.
- If the data file includes older people, it may improve readability to use larger, bolder type for them, but full-size fonts for everyone.
- Make reference to foreign names or places for certain people? You may need a font with specific characters not included in the reduced character set of some fonts.
- Printed pieces aimed at teenage girls may use one font to grab their attention, while attractive teenage fonts are different. By dynamically varying the font based on the gender of the document recipient, printers can run the entire file in one job.
- Specialized fonts can allow organizations to use the same document template to communicate messages in different seasons. Halloween-themed materials may look different from those produced during the Christmas holidays, for example, just by changing the font.
- Trademarks are sometimes identifiable by typefaces. Postcards intended for alumni of different colleges, for example, can benefit from brand recognition by printing the messages in each institution’s preferred typeface.
In addition to improving connections to drives, dynamic fonts for variable data can turn a job that would have required separate setup, monitoring, and management into one big job. This tactic improves productivity and efficiency while reducing production costs for printers.
Fonts are more complex than you might expect, especially when connected to variable data printing. Practice and planning will help you master the intricacies of using fonts and produce more effective documents.