Using tags to find the perfect font for the job

By Yves Peters

Posted on 08-14-2020

Your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription quite literally lays thousands of fonts at your fingertips—over 17,000 at the time of this post. While this offers an incredible range of typographic expression to the user, finding the right typeface in such an expansive collection can be overwhelming at times.

Adobe Fonts already offers powerful tools for finding fonts. The Classification filter allows you to refine your selection further by choosing one of eight type classifications, such as sans serif, script, or decorative. Selecting the desired Properties fine-tunes your search—looking for a bold, condensed, high-contrast serif face with a medium x-height? Just a few clicks and you can scroll through a manageable list of options.

In truth, most users (and particularly their clients) don’t use typographic terms to describe type designs or fonts. Instead, we commonly use analogies, reference familiar concepts, and borrow from art and pop culture to explain what kind of typeface we’re looking for.

Does this design call for a fun font or a funky font?

Should your sans serif be clean in style or a little roughed up?

Do you want your typography to look more futuristic or more luxurious?

Are you a fan of the Art Deco or the Western aesthetic?

How about shaded, inline, or stencil faces?

Tag Browsing from Adobe Fonts allows you to use more expressive and universal vocabulary when browsing for fonts so you can pinpoint the exact typeface you need. Let’s take a look at some hypothetical use cases and explore these new possibilities for narrowing down your font selection.

A text face for children’s books

You are a book designer. You’re in a meeting with a publisher who is launching a line of literature for preteens. Your client explains they want inviting, approachable typography for the interiors, without making the body text look too childish.

You open your laptop and surf to Adobe Fonts. Clicking “Friendly” in Tags brings up more than three dozen font families. In the Classification section, selecting “Serif” whittles down the search results to the best possible options for a text face within the Friendly tag.

Image Source: Adobe Stock: White paper texture by Dmytro Synelnychenko.

Underware’s Dolly seems to be a prime candidate: the typeface is clearly meant for immersive reading, and its calligraphic features and soft finish give a warm impression. Your client is sold on the idea and the project can go ahead.

A photo album for a wedding anniversary

Your parents have been married for 25 years. To celebrate this momentous occasion, you decide to gift them an album with photos documenting their marriage.

While looking for a suitable script for the cover page, clicking “Wedding” results in a surprisingly eclectic selection of appropriately themed font families. Besides the usual suspects—graceful calligraphic scripts—the list also includes brush scripts for a more informal appearance and a number of serif faces. You set your sights on Dalton Maag’s striking Volina, whose letters look like ribbons floating in a summer breeze.

Image Source: Adobe Stock: Mature African American couple laughing and hugging by digitalskillet1.

Then, in the Classification section, selecting “Serif” narrows down the search results again to just the serif faces. You decide to pair Volina with Questa, from The Questa Project by Jos Buivenga and Martin Majoor, for captions and short paragraphs. The thoughtful type combination lends your self-made album a distinguished and professional appearance.

A flyer for an online gathering

You are a STEM student. You want to design an invitation to an online gathering of like-minded students.

Because you like the aesthetic of vintage video games, you click “Futuristic” in Tags to check out the corresponding font families. In the Classification section, adding the “Decorative” filter leaves only the most expressive designs. Mark Simonson’s Changeling Neo is a no-brainer. Its extra-wide letterforms ooze 80s sci-fi and arcade game nostalgia.

Image Source: Adobe Stock: Casual girl with headphones and laptop sitting against a wall by saksit.

To top it off, searching for a geometric sans serif copy typeface with a tall x-height led you to stumble upon Device Fonts’ Urbane Rounded. You’re one step closer to building a community of people who speak the same language as you.

A branding face for an app

You’re an app designer collaborating with a developer to create an app for managing work from home needs. The client wants the logo and all branding to look sharp and clean.

Clicking “Clean” in Tags results in a subset of type families with clear, straightforward letterforms. On the first screen, Rui Abreu’s Usual catches your eye for its subtle reference to DIN typefaces. Searching further, the tense curves in Gesta—also by Abreu— and Typofonderie’s Allumi jump out for their technical look.

Image Source: Adobe Stock: Woman hand holding smartphone with blur bokeh by Natee Meepian.

Allumi eventually prevails because it includes an extended width ideal for the logo, allowing you to develop a minimalistic visual style with just enough diversification.

A menu for a sports bar

You own a sports bar. You need to update your menu and feel like doing a complete overhaul.

Clicking “College” in Tags produces a concise range of font families that are commonly associated with collegiate sports. At the end of the list, you notice that Fort Foundry’s Factoria and Industry not only fit the bill, they are actually siblings: respectively a slab serif and a sans serif sharing the same design traits. This helps you remain consistent while distinguishing the different types of information on the menu: sans serif for names, and prices; slab serif for section titles and short bursts of copy.

Image Source: Adobe Stock: Baseball ball with glove on dark background by ccestep8.

On second look, you feel the main titling face needs a little more oomph. Clicking “Shaded” conjures up a range of dimensional type. And what do you discover? Mattox Shuler also designed Industry, Inc, an all-caps version of Industry offering nine layer fonts that allow the user to compose chromatic, shaded display typography. Your new menu is about to make a home run.

Whether you’re a novice, an enthusiastic type lover, or a professional graphic designer, Tag Browsing helps you navigate the Adobe Fonts offerings more efficiently, so you can locate the exact typeface you need in record time.

We’ve made it faster than ever for Creative Cloud subscribers to use fonts to propel them from ideation to creation. Stop by the library today to see how font tags can empower your projects.

Topics: Typography, Design,

Products: Creative Cloud,