by Ilene Strizver
Every designer has used a border at one time or another. Most likely it was a thick or thin solid rule (or a thin-thick combination, sometimes called a “scotch rule”), a double or dash rule. But sticking to these traditional borders is like eating only vanilla ice cream when there are hundreds of other flavors to choose from. Next time you need a border to help organize, group and emphasize elements in your design, consider using a border font.
Border fonts come in countless styles and personalities to suit every mood and purpose, and are equally comfortable in both print and web design. Subtle borders are perfect for drawing attention to important material, such as a sidebar or coupon. More elaborate, decorative borders have an almost illustrative effect, often suggesting a particular style or era, such as Victorian, Art Deco, or purely calligraphic.
Some border fonts are composed of a single repeated element, often with connecting corner pieces. Other border can be customized by combining different, alternating elements in the pattern of your choice. By careful use of color, scale, sequence and position, a border can be as unique and intricate (or simple and elegant) as you like.
Borders can be a creative and economical way to enhance the appeal, readability and originality of your design. As with all design elements, use them sparingly, tastefully and with purpose!
- Editor’s Note: Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer and writer specializing in all aspects of typographic communication. She conducts Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Read more about typography in her latest literary effort, Type Rules! The designer's guide to professional typography, 3rd edition, published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.