Text and Fonts (and how to use them in a touch panel project)

Choosing the correct fonts for your touch panel layout is very important. Like color design, typesetting is an art unto itself so we will only scratch the surface here. People have many different emotional reactions to different fonts so choose yours carefully. A font that "looks" good to you may look very unprofessional to some one else.

Serif or San Serif

Serifs are a hold over from the newspaper and printing business. The little feet added onto the characters are supposed to make the text easier to read. Well that may be so for large amounts of printed text but it is certainly questionable in the touch panel world. A sans serif (from the French "without serif") has a much cleaner look to it.

Serif or San Serif fonts

Which font to use?

With the vast selection of fonts available to you, choosing one can be very difficult. You could go the route of using the touch panel manufacturers default font. For example, Crestrons Vision Tools Pro-e touch panel building software comes shipped with several Crestron sans serif fonts that look fine. They even have special symbols for creating transport controls quickly and easily. Personally, I prefer a sans serif font like Arial. When choosing a font, make sure that you find one that has a variety of styles within the one font family. I like Arial because it has several weights and styles to choose from. If you don't use the fonts that the touch panel manufacturer provides, avoid choosing a third party font just because it appeals to you.

What not to do to your fonts?

Once you have selected your font that you will repeat across your touch panel project there are a few things to remember as you are using the font.

Avoid using the "Bold" command Avoid using the "Bold" command. It might look okay but strictly speaking, it is bad graphic design. When you bold a font you basically tell the application to draw an extra line of pixels around the original character. You can get unpredictable results when you do this. Use a font that has a bolded font. For example, Arial has a "heavy weight" font called Arial Black.
Be careful how you style your text. Some touch panel design software give you a great deal of control over how your text looks. This can be very dangerous with features like "fringe" and drop "shadow". Try to keep your text clean and easy to read.

Arial versus Creston with styles added

What should you do to your fonts?

Play it safe and simple. Limit your text decoration to anti-aliasing. It will make the text clean and easy to read.

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