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The Best Fonts for Signatures and Legal Docs (A Lawyer’s Guide)

Written by Erik J. Olson on . Posted in .
Home > Blog > The Best Fonts for Signatures and Legal Docs (A Lawyer’s Guide)

Key takeaways:

  • The font attorneys use on their websites, legal documents, and signatures can either convey a level of clarity or become frustrating for the reader.
  • There are some fonts you should avoid altogether.
  • You can use fonts to help with branding if you know what to look for when choosing them.
  • Array Digital works closely with our legal clients to ensure they properly present themselves.

Many lawyers struggle with selecting the right font for legal documents and signatures or overlooking the profound impact the right choice can make. This can lead to documents that are hard to read or fail to convey the required level of professionalism and authority your law firm should present.

Imagine submitting a legal document that gets questioned not for its content but for its readability or professionalism or branding your legal website with a font that screams fashion instead of facts.

We’ve created this guide based on our extensive marketing expertise to ensure your law firm embodies what’s most important: professionalism. Let’s talk about fonts that showcase your expertise.

Understanding the importance of fonts in legal documents

Fonts in legal documents should be all about clear readability and professionalism. When it comes to legal documents you want easy to read and efficient document processing. Fonts that are decorative or complex slow down reading and, in some cases, may make communication strained.

Also important, many courts have specific requirements or standards that all documents must meet, or the form will be unusable.

  • Check your State Bar Association: Here, you can find all requirements within your area.
  • U.S. Supreme Court: You must use Century family fonts in all legal briefs
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th District: You cannot use Times New Roman font
  • Supreme Court of Florida: Must use Arial or Bookman Old Style in 14-point, only
  • Supreme Court of Virginia: Must use one of the list of approved fonts

Most of the time, courts are not overly strict (especially in the lower courts) as long as you use a legible font that is 12-point in size or above.

Standard fonts that meet legal requirements

lawyers showing the best fonts for signatures

There’s no one-size-fits-all font. However, it’s critical to understand the differences in the types of commonly used legal fonts. Specifically, consider the difference between serif and sans-serif fonts, a critical distinction that can play a role in legibility.

Serif fonts

A close look at the serif font shows what makes it different:

  • You’ll notice a decorative taper at the start and end of each letter.
  • These fonts are often in books, magazines, and newspapers.
  • They look more traditional and offer a sense of reliability overall.

Examples of serif fonts include:

  • Century Schoolbook
  • Baskerville
  • Bookman Old Style
  • Georgia
  • Times New Roman (Equity, Tiempos, and Verdigris versions)

Sans-serif fonts

Take a look at the structure of sans-serif fonts to notice:

  • There is no decorative taper at the start or end of the font.
  • They are more modern, have a simple structure, and are considered more relatable.
  • They are often used in digital applications because they are easier to read on a screen.

Examples of non-serif fonts include:

  • Helvetica
  • Century Gothic
  • Calibri alternatives (Fort, Concourse, and Serif)
  • Helvetica alternatives (Neue Haas Grotesk, Atlas, and Concourse)

Choosing the easiest font to read for legal documents

The most commonly selected and used font for legal documents is Times New Roman, 12-point. It’s the reliable go-to option because it has a more compact design and is easily recognized. Most often, attorneys use this font in legal documents because it’s what they’re familiar with, but there is a benefit in choosing a different font that may work a bit more effectively for you.

Consider these tips for picking the right font for your legal documents:

  • It has to be legible with ease, which is more important than anything else.
  • Avoid the flourished type; there’s no room for the “pretty” or elaborated type in legal documents.
  • To improve readability, consider moving from the standard 12-point to the 14-point. It’s noticeable but not drastic.
  • If legal documents will be read online, a slightly larger font can help.

The best options for most legal documents include:

  • Arial
  • Baskerville
  • Verdana
  • Century
  • Century-related fonts
  • Bookman Old Style

Choosing a font for your signature on digital documents

Signatures are a bit different in that you want to convey professionalism and readability, but you also need the font to seem as if you actually signed the document. That adds a level of formality to the message.

There are a few specific considerations to help you choose the best signature font for Word and other documents:

  • Helvetica: This font is excellent because it has a modern feel and is still very easy to read.
  • Garamond: This traditional cursive signature font has a sophisticated and elevated appeal.
  • Times New Roman: This font is classic and clean, making it a great choice for legibility and professionalism.
  • Futura: Choose this option for more of a geometric, minimalist style, an option that works well if you are branding as a more contemporary firm.
  • Baskerville: Sophisticated and elegant, this option is ideal if you want more class and a bit more contrast to the rest of your legal document content.

For more variety, you could use a custom font for a greater personal touch, but it is still important to ensure accessibility.

Choosing a font for your law firm website

For your website, you’ll still want to apply the same strategies as above: clean, easy-to-read fonts. However, this is also your opportunity to incorporate a bit more of your brand into your website’s design.

Remember that everything on your law firm website plays a role in your branding and image. Fonts can convey professionalism but also the sense of authority and sophistication you wish to build. Here are some tips:

  • Choose fonts with website conversion and accessibility in mind. Be mindful that multiple audiences should be able to read your content with ease.
  • Serif fonts work well for those who want a more authoritative image for their website content.
  • Sans-serif fonts work best for those who want a more modern and accessible version (this version is more commonly used on websites).
  • The most commonly used web-friendly fonts are Open Sans, Roboto, and Lato.

Why law firms partner with Array Digital

Array Digital brings expertise to every client project. We listen to our clients and then work hand-in-hand with them to create custom strategies that provide exceptional results.

Testimonials

“Kevin and his team at Array Digital are true professionals and really know what they are doing. I highly recommend working with Kevin and his company. Also, check his podcast out, as it is a great resource for all types of attorneys.” — Ben L.

“The entire team at Array Digital is amazing! They are incredibly knowledgeable and very quick to respond to their clients’ needs or concerns. If you are looking for a professional team to handle your website, I definitely recommend them!!!” — Donna T.

“Array Digital has built an awesome website for our law firm and has used SEO to move us to the top of the page on Google. Two of our best recent settlements were for clients who found us on Google, which is a direct result of the great work Array Digital has done for us. They are true professionals who know their stuff!” — James K.

Let Array Digital help you master your branding and website content. Set up a free consultation to discuss your next move by calling 757-333-3021 or filling out the form at this link.

Frequently Asked Questions

What fonts are most legal documents written in?

The most commonly used font is Times New Roman, 12-point. This font is readily recognized and often used because of its traditional style.

How do I choose the easiest font to read for my legal documents?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Look at the shape of the letters. Are they similar?
  • Consider the difference between both lowercase and capital letters (check out “i,” for example)
  • Make sure the letters are easy to distinguish from each other.
  • Consider the spacing between letters.
  • Test it. If you’re not sure what’s best suited for your documents, test out a few options to determine which documents are easier for you to read.
Are there any fonts that should be avoided in legal documents?

Yes, you should not incorporate fonts that are hard to read. For example, any that have too much embellishment or elegant features to them that make letters hard to read quickly should be avoided. Avoid those that have:

  • Any type of novelty approach to them
  • Those that look unprofessional
  • Any that could lead to being non-compliant with court requirements
What size font should I use on legal documents?

The most common option is 12-point, and it should not be smaller than this. You can increase it to 14-font with ease, though, which can enhance accessibility on your site. Either of these options is ideal because they remain compact and easy to skim.

It’s not just about what you write but how you write it.

Written By Erik J. Olson
Founder & CEO
Erik J. Olson is the Founder & CEO of Array Digital—a marketing agency that enables its clients to achieve their dreams, fulfill their missions, and impact more lives with their services.

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