Step away from the novelty fonts. If you’re delivering a business presentation, these super six are the only PowerPoint presentation fonts you will ever need.
Fonts are like ties. For every white collar professional clad in a smart black tie, there’s another sporting a Daffy Duck tie. We’re not going to debate the merits of wearing Looney Tunes ties to work, but we would like to discuss fonts. Specifically, we’d like to focus on the smart black ones rather than the novelty fonts of the world. Does the internet really need another blog lampooning Comic Sans? We’ll save the cheap jibes for another time: right now there’s work to be done and information to be imparted to aid your PowerPoint presentation font selection.
Font choice might be a contentious issue, but in the corporate realm, 99% of all fonts can automatically be discounted for reasons of legibility or professionalism. All that leaves, by our reckoning, is a solid six. Half a dozen fonts that should be the cornerstone of all your presentations. Use these fonts, or close variations thereof, in all your formal presentations and you can’t go wrong. (Unless you try to incorporate all six into a single presentation, which is a recipe for disaster. Use two or three fonts tops; one for body text and another for headings should do.)
Today we’re going to lay it all on the line and name the fonts that should form your go-to set. These six might be ubiquitous, but they’re everywhere for a reason: they’re clean, legible and professional. In other words, they’re everything you’re looking for in a PowerPoint presentation font.
There’s a hint of typewriter to Lucida Console, but not to the point of impacting upon legibility. There’s a reason for that: it’s based on Lucida Sans Typewriter. This mono-spaced font is highly readable and is ideal for titles and headers.
The beauty of Helvetica is that it retains its clarity even at small sizes, making it ideal for body text in your presentations. It’s also a very neutral font, one that will complement the theme and tone of your slideshow rather than trying to stamp its authority all over it. Using Helvetica in your presentation won’t show off your whacky personality, but it will show that you know a good clean font when you see one.
Trends come and go but classic design never ages. Futura is a geometric sans-serif typeface that was designed in 1927 by Paul Renner. You don’t need to know any of that to appreciate that Futura is a smart looking font. It’s clean-cut yet retains just enough personality to liven up your presentation. Futura will add a dash of character without stealing the show.
Myriad Pro is best known as being the font that Apple used for years, and if it’s good enough for Apple it’s probably good enough for your presentation. This sans-serif typeface is smart yet understated. It’s the sort of font that quietly does its job, leaving your audience free to focus on the message rather than the shapes of the letters conveying the message.
Yes, Calibri’s common, but then none of the fonts on this list are rare. We’ve kept it mainstream for a reason and it doesn’t get much more mainstream than Calibri. Calibri is synonymous with Microsoft, having replaced Times New Roman as the default in PowerPoint in 2007. Do nothing then and your presentation will automatically be in Calibri. This is a typeface that doesn’t spring any surprises, but in a professional environment that’s exactly what you want.
It isn’t old-fashioned (despite having been designed in 1928), but there’s just a touch of classic style to Gill Sans, one that marks it out as a font that’s been around the block a few times. Best known as the original font of the London Underground, Gill Sans has real weight to it and is as suited to being used for body text as it is to appearing in headers and titles.
All of the fonts on this list are sans-serif and for good reason. While there’s a place for serif fonts, they don’t belong in a professional environment where it’s essential for the audience to make out every word, whether they’re sat at the back of a lecture theatre or viewing on a smartphone screen. There’s still a place for more adventurous fonts, particularly if you work in a creative industry where a touch of flair is desirable. We’ll discuss some of Buffalo 7’s favourite custom fonts in a future article*. For now, just know that in professional situations, fancy fonts are out – and so are the fancy ties. Keep it clean, keep it simple and keep it slick.
*EDIT: we’ve written this now!