Stereotypes are found everywhere and in a lot of different fields, including design. One of the most common and noticeable stereotyping in design is the feminine girly vs masculine design. Designers usually follow this stereotyping in their designs to reach the intended audience. If you are new in font designing, read along to know more about feminine vs masculine design.
What is Feminine vs. Masculine Design?
Feminine and masculine design refers to the stereotype that manifests in different aspects of design. It can be in color, fonts, layouts, photography, or icons used in a design. While you can use a gender-neutral approach to reach a wider audience, a stereotyped design can also be useful to reach a specific target audience.
Feminine and Masculine Fonts
Both feminine girly and masculine fonts are not hard to notice. Feminine fonts tend to be thin, slanted, smooth and cursive. Meanwhile, the masculine ones often use sharp edges, as well as geometric and straight lines. Another characteristic of feminine fonts is their bubbly and decorative tendency, while masculine fonts tend to be geometric and sharp.
Despite the characters associated with the certain gender role above, some fonts bend these rules while at the same time keeping their specific gender connotation. For example, the GRIND font has rounded corners like those of feminine fonts. However, it has a geometric shape with a rough and masculine texture, making it appear more masculine rather than girly.
Calligraphy fonts tend to have cursive and decorative patterns. However, it is not strictly feminine and can be either masculine or feminine, depending on the ligatures. If it is heavily rounded and slanted, then it can be considered feminine. However, shorter straight letters accompanied with sharp strokes are considered masculine.
A lot of fonts are often referred to as either masculine or feminine. However, there are a few fonts that can be considered as gender-neutral, for example, Helvetica. This font is widely used for various purposes and all types of brands. It suits the corporate theme and also clothing lines. In fact, a lot of logos and marketing designs targeted to both feminine and masculine audiences use medium weight Helvetica font.
Helvetica in medium weight can be considered gender-neutral. However, it can look more feminine in ultralight and masculine in extra bold. Therefore, designers will be able to adjust the fonts to suit their needs.
Garamond may look slightly masculine. However, it still can be considered gender-neutral. This typeface is commonly used in printed novels because it is easy to read. It also appeals to both women and men, hence the association of gender-neutral typeface.
How to Use Gender-Specific Fonts
When you are using a gender-specific font, it is important to understand the context of your text and design. For example, the word “powerdrill” would look odd when you use feminine fonts with their slanted and bubbly characters. On the other hand, the word “ballerina” would also look out of place if you use more masculine fonts.
Additionally, it is also important to consider the color along with the fonts that you choose for the text. You have to consider the connection between fonts and color and how to balance them when designing.
To achieve a more gender-neutral design, you can use fonts like Helvetica and combine them with a neutral color, such as grey, blue, or black.
Which One to Choose? Feminine or Masculine Design?
When designing a product, the first step you need to do is analyse your potential audience or clients. You need to know whether your customers are mostly men or women, are they young and trendy or people over the ’40s, whether they are sports fans or stay at home moms, and so on.
Understanding your customers and audiences’ background will help you decide on which stereotypes you can follow in designing your product or project, whether your products or projects are more suitable with feminine girly fonts, masculine fonts, or whether you can use a gender-neutral design instead.
There are many things to consider when designing, from colors, layout, and even fonts. Therefore, it is important to understand what feminine girly or masculine fonts are and how you can implement them in your design.