Fonts for the Photographer

Jay Goodrich

The font – a simple communication device. A font in it’s most rudimentary form is a style that is added to a letter of the alphabet. Castings were made from lead as early as the 1450’s. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to carve each letter to create a lead cast, then manually lay-up the text for a simple news headline? The computer has made this operation as simple as a mouse click.

While many of us see the letters and symbols as the basis for the written word, designers see the font much differently. Modern designers see the font as a means of creatively communicating a message. This makes perfect sense too. Since the font is necessary for written communication, why not use it in a creative manner.

Fonts in Design

I read a lot about the concept of design. I also study the designs of websites and graphics. I probably do this because of my roots in Architecture. I absolutely love super simple creative graphic communications. 

Architects learn to letter early on. Ever seen an architect’s handwriting? It’s typically very neat and very stylistic. Thus my obsession with the font and its use in conjunction with my photography.

Fonts in Photography

Looking at other photographer’s branding attempts, I typically see a major disconnect with amazing photographs and how that work is stylistically presented on websites and in printed materials like books. I have no idea why any photographer would sweat the details of an amazing photograph only to blow it on the delivery of their final product.

The Font Discovery

Over the course of browsing the web, I discovered an amazing project that highlights the use of Google Fonts by the 25×52 initiative.

Google has font catalog of now more than 800 fonts, and these fonts are FREE to use by anyone. Google fonts embed really easy into any website and you can download these fonts for use in any of your branding projects that are outside of the web.

Font Inspiration

The discovery of the 25×52 project has inspired me. For this week’s post, I decided to grab some of my favorite movie and Seinfeld quotes, couple those with select Google Fonts, throw in a bunch of my photos, and add a touch of design to hopefully inspire you. As a photographer you have all of the components you need to own the content marketing arena. Free fonts to use as you see fit will help with all of your promotional materials including your website.

I want you to walk away from this post inspired. Inspired to look at how you use a font in your photography brand communication. Ask yourself what type of font represents your photography? The font can be so much more than just letters on a page. Enjoy!


Talladega Nights

The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Chip: I can’t hold my tongue. These kids are my grandchildren and you are raising them wrong. They are *terrible* boys!
Walker: Shut up, Chip, or I’ll go ape-shit on your ass!
Texas Ranger: I’m gonna scissor-kick you in the back of the head!
Cal Naughton, Jr.: Yeah!
Ricky Bobby: Yeah! Now turn up the heat!
Cal Naughton, Jr.: Go on and get some, boys!
Ricky Bobby: Come on!
Walker: I’m ten years old, but I’ll beat your ass!
Texas Ranger: Chip, I’m gonna come at you like a spider monkey!
Cal Naughton, Jr.: Like a spider monkey! Go on!
Ricky Bobby: Chip, you brought this on, man.
Walker: Greatest Generation my ass. Tom Brokaw’s a punk!
Chip: What is wrong with you?
Texas Ranger: Chip, I’m all jacked up on Mountain Dew!

| George Costanza |

The sea was angry that day, my friends – like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli. I got about fifty feet out and suddenly the great beast appeared before me. I tell you he was ten stories high if he was a foot. As if sensing my presence, he let out a great bellow. I said, “Easy, big fella!” And then, as I watched him struggling, I realized that something was obstructing its breathing. From where I was standing, I could see directly into the eye of the great fish.

I’d wake up and there’d be nothing. I hardly said a word to my wife, until I said “yes” to a divorce. When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle. I’m here a week now… waiting for a mission… getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger. Each time I looked around the walls moved in a little tighter.



Sometimes it makes me sad, though… Andy being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.

Jurassic Park

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Don’t you see the danger, John, inherent in what you’re doing here? Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet’s ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that’s found his dad’s gun.

Donald Gennaro: It’s hardly appropriate to start hurling generalizations…

Dr. Ian Malcolm: If I may… Um, I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now
[bangs on the table]

Dr. Ian Malcolm: you’re selling it, you wanna sell it. Well…

John Hammond: I don’t think you’re giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody’s ever done before…

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

“You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it.”

master yoda

“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.”

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.


The End

Let’s end this post with a bit of an explanation about my own logo. I don’t think I go a day without someone asking me about the skull.

The skull has purpose within the Jay Goodrich Brand. As a photographer who materially participates in the adventures that I photograph, the skull represents the broken me. It came about after the 7 avalanches, multiple car crashes, and yes, numerous broken bones.

Why the skull? First off, skulls are cool! Next up, why the crack? Broken remember. Now, whats the teardrop for? You ever kill anyone? On the grounds that I may incriminate…kidding…the tear is there because on some level ALL artists are crying inside. It is the struggle that continually forces us to create. 

My skull is everywhere. It’s on my skis, on my bikes, my cars, even my office equipment. It has been sold as stickers and taken on many adjusted forms. These days the bike tires and crossed “ski” bones have left. It’s just a beat up skull.

I choose to pair it with a simple, clean, contemporary font.

And yes, that font is a Google Font.

EXIT. Can only happen if you take the RED PILL.


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