Jingly Jangly Christmas Fonts: A Designer’s Guide to the Nightmare Before Christmas!

Christmas is that magical time of awful clip art and even worse font choices!

Oh! Sweet baby Jesus please save us from jingly, jangly Christmas fonts!

Bah! Humbug! Christmassy fonts are the graphical equivalent of a Christmas sweater. They come out once a year, look awful, and embarrass everyone with any shred of dignity or graphical taste! Mom loves them and thinks they are so scrummy and cute but everyone else abhors these frumpy, dumpy, lumpy eyesores!

Here’s the 10 distinct Christmas font categories:

  1. Snow-capped fonts!
  2. Razzle-dazzle-sparkley-do fonts
  3. Candy-cane stripy nightmare fonts
  4. Icicle (but not nice-icle) fonts
  5. Joy-to-the-world religious fonts from somewhere in history between baby Jesus and a leprechaun!
  6. Christmas tree themed fonts
  7. Elvish fonts from Santa’s Workshop (not to be confused with Elvis fonts that are also acceptable Christmas razzle-dazzle nonsense)
  8. Unreadable scripty fonts with a super-duper Christmas flourish!
  9. Christmas light-themed fonts
  10. Fatty fonts in Christmas stockings or wearing Santa hats at a jaunty angle!

Now let’s get specific on these font horrors. Here’s my personal rundown of the top 5 worst holiday fonts to drop down your design chimney once-a-year:

1. Candy Cane

Stop trying to hypnotize me with your whirling stripy Christmas magic, candy cane font! You can’t make me like you or think you’re fun! You are horrid. You hurt my eyes and make me dizzy! I wouldn’t use Candy Cane even if I was an old lady in a retirement home who was creating a flyer on an ancient inkjet printer for her Christmas potluck!

Don’t use it people! Don’t try to force fun into your Christmas designs!

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2. Algeria

This is the original “we three kings on camels” font from a distant and magical land of magic carpets, belly dancers, sultans, and furniture wholesalers. It comes out every Christmas to spread Joyous Noel but I really don’t feel the magic! It is such a clumsy font with fat serifs and an annoying drop-shadow that causes dizziness and nausea if looked upon for too long!

It’s such an awful font! Don’t use it at Christmas time!!! Don’t use it EVER!

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3. White Christmas

White Christmas ticks two lame Christmas font boxes:

  • Covered in dollops of snow
  • An elfy and Celty font style from cartoon lapland

It just represents everything that’s tacky about Christmas design. The route one thought process that goes from “I need a font” to “I’ll just stick this snowy font on it!”

Stop it with the snow-capped theme fonts! From a design point of view, we’re not sure if they are fonts covered in snow or if a bird has plopped on them?

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4. Harrington

Grandma loves this posh font that goes hand-in-hand with Edwardian Christmas scenes of ladies, gents, and ruddy-faced scamps skating on ice-lakes! I feel like the designer should be wearing a top hat and a monocle when using this on their old-timey Christmas designs. It’s not post-modern or cool! It’s simply an ugly font pretending to be old!

Faux old and horrible! Don’t use it.

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5. Frosty

I think the majority of awful Christmas fonts that we endure at this time of year started out their lives in Christmas specials around the 1960s. This font is a bad recreation of those ’60s-style madcap fonts (that were pretty awful in the first place.) It’s so loopy and messy. There would NEVER be a good time to use it! I bet even snowmen can’t stand it!

It’s dated and crummy-looking! Please stay away!

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Okay now that I’ve made my snooty comments about the Christmas fonts I don’t like, here are 5 alternative fonts that will add a bit of class to your Christmas designs.

1. Kimiko

Original source: http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/rodbolado/kimiko/

I love this super clean and bold font from Rodrigo Navarro Bolado that has a little bit of Christmas flourish.

 

2. Antlers

Original source: http://www.dafont.com/antlers-demo.font

I struggle with calligraphic fonts. I always feel that you are making the viewer work too hard to read them! However, if I was going to use a Christmas script font, I’d choose this particularly elegant one.

3. Wintermelon

Original source: http://deathmunkey.deviantart.com/#/d4qsw9h

There are so many font options when it comes to doing something fun and casual for the holidays. You really don’t have to resort to fake fun and frosty fonts. Go more contemporary with a handwritten “trash” font like the one above. There are a multitude of fonts like this to choose from but I really like the bold simplicity of this one. Better still would be to create your own handwritten text for your Christmas designs.

4. Aeronaut

Original source: http://blog.honeydesign.com/my-favorite-font-aeronaut/

This font is extremely ostentatious but I can’t help loving it! If you want to give your designs a real sense of Christmas tradition then this font really suits that purpose. It’s based very closely on early German gothic fonts – reflecting the Western idea of Christmas that has its roots in German tradition.

5. DK Himmelblau

Original source: http://www.dafont.com/dk-himmelblau.font

Loose casual but also retro and Art Deco cool. Another font that lends a sense of tradition to your Christmas designs. Unlike Harrington and similar fonts that are trying to convey a sense of old world tradition, this font actually looks stylish and elegant.

These fonts are very Christmas-like in their design, but the truth is that most fonts can be Christmas fonts if used in the correct way as part of your greeting cards or flyer designs. There’s no need to resort to candy canes and snow-topped fonts. You may agree or disagree with my font criticism in this article but please don’t be too offended! This is just one man’s opinion. I’d love to know what you think. Maybe you’ve used one of these fonts and it looks brilliant! Feel free to comment. I’d love to be proved wrong.

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2 Responses to “Jingly Jangly Christmas Fonts: A Designer’s Guide to the Nightmare Before Christmas!”

  1. troy@citychurchob.com'
    Troy Sowden Says:

    Great info here, I wish I had stumbled upon this a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t use one of the fonts on your naughty list but I do prefer the ones you recommend to the one I did go with. Thank you for the suggestions.

    My one bit of mildly constructive criticism for you would be to ease up on the exclamation points in your writing. This could just be personal preference, but to me excessive use of exclamation points is the grammatical version of the messy, trying too hard to be cool designs you rightly dismiss. If your punctuation was cleaner it would come off less insecure and better buttress your excellent design tips.

    Just my thoughts. Feel free to delete this/not publish if it comes across as too harsh or combative. I’m sincerely just trying to help because I think you have a good thing going here. If all the exclamation points were intentionally ironic and I missed the joke, please accept my apology in advance.

    Thanks again, and Merry Christmas.

    Reply

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