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7 Popular Typefaces for Worship Lyric Projection

By January 10, 2018 September 5th, 2018 13 Comments
7 Popular Typefaces for Worship Lyric Projection

You have many typefaces (fonts) to choose from when projecting lyrics during your church service, youth group or worship concert. We wanted to introduce you to the most popular typefaces that churches are using, plus give a brief description of their history and critical properties. We hope that this list will provide you with a better understanding of these fonts and will help you make better typeface selections for worship slides in the future.

Our #1 Top Worship Lyric Typeface Choice

CMG Sans The World's Best Lyric FontSince this post was originally published, we have created our own custom font to take the guesswork out of choosing a typeface for your worship slides.

CMG Sans was specially designed for church screens by combining the best qualities of the most popular typefaces for lyric projection. It’s available to download for FREE.

Download CMG Sans

 


1. Helvetica and Arial

Background From The January 2018 CMG Pack

helvetica-font-type
Helvetica is a widely used sans-serif typeface that was published in 1957. It was designed to be a neutral typeface with excellent clarity, no intrinsic meaning and used in a wide variety of signage. Over half a century later it is still a purposeful font that is in advertising, street signs, and print.

Background From The January 2018 CMG Pack

arial-font-type
Arial was published in 1982 and was designed as a generic sans-serif typeface that is exceptionally versatile. It’s shape and form nearly match those of Helvetica, but it has more rounded edges, softer and fuller curves and the contours are more open. This typeface is perfect when you want a plain font that holds little emotion. Other Arial variations to experiment with are Arial Rounded, Arial Redux, and Arial Bold.

The differences between Helvetica and Arial are very subtle, and only a true typeface guru would be able to point out all the minute difference to you. Two of the main differences can are the capital “G” and “R”.

2. Century Gothic

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century-gothic-font-type
Century Gothic was published in 1991 and is a digital typeface. Its characteristics include even stroke widths, thin stroke widths, large x-height, single-story lower case “a” and “g” and wide letters. This geometric sans-serif typeface has nice rounded letter forms and a crisp, clean feel. If you are looking to boost the visibility of your text try using Century Gothic Bold instead.

3. Myriad Pro

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myriad-pro-font-type
Myriad Pro is a humanist sans-serif typeface designed for Adobe Systems and published in 2000. The typeface is best known for it’s usage by Apple. Myriad Pro has a clean feel with beautifully rounded curves, nicely proportioned line-weights and unique characteristics like the “y” descender and slanting “e” cut. Try using Myriad Condensed if pressed for horizontal space or Frutiger for a similar typeface alternative.

4. Lucida Grande

Background From The January 2018 CMG Pack

lucida-grande-font-type
Lucida Grande is another humanist sans-serif typeface that is a version of the Lucida Sans extended character set that was published in 1985. This typeface is used throughout the Mac OS X user interface since 1999. Its form is unique with straight lines, thick line-weights and minimal creative flare that makes this typeface have a “computer terminal” feel. Try this typeface if you are looking to increase text readability. Other fonts to try are Lucida Casual and Lucida Sans for various other design applications.

5. Gill Sans

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gillsans
Gill Sans is another beautifully formed typeface much like Myriad Pro. It was initially designed in 1926 and later released in 1928. The uppercase letters of Gill Sans are modeled on the monumental Roman capitals and hold lovely broad standing symmetrical forms. Gill Sans has similar characteristics as the typeface Futura, but has less of a geometric, mechanical feel. The lowercase letters were modeled from Carolingian script and this influence is noticed in the lowercase “a” and “g”. Other exciting variations of this typeface include Gill Sans Condensed and Gill Sans Extra Bold.

Gil Sans is the most narrow typeface on our list and is useful if you are pinched for horizontal space or using a 4:3 screen aspect ratio.

6. Gotham

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gotham-font-type
Gotham is a family of geometric sans-serif digital typefaces published in 2000. This typeface was initially commissioned by GQ magazine, whose editors wanted a “geometric structure” that would look masculine, new and fresh. The designers have done a great job at reducing it forms to the bare, efficient essentials and eliminated all undesirable, local or ethnic elements. This clean, sleek typeface is perfect for the creative-modern church that has a trendy masculine side. Other fonts to consider are Futura, Gotham Thin, Gotham Bold and Gotham Rounded.

Gotham is the typeface Church Motion Graphics has chosen for its creative branding.

7. Tahoma

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tahoma-font-type
Tahoma is another humanist sans-serif typeface that was designed in 1994 for the Microsoft Corporation for Windows 95. While similar to the typeface Verdana, Tahoma has a narrower body, less generous counters, much tighter letter spacing and a more complete Unicode character set. It was first initially designed as a bitmap font, meaning it will “carefully wrap” around the pixels it covers. One distinct advantage that it has over such typefaces as Arial for the use of technical reading materials is that the uppercase “I” is distinguishable from the lowercase “l”. Like Lucida Grande, this font has a more technical feel and a distinct “computer terminal” look.

8. Bonus Typefaces

When we surveyed churches in our Visual Church Media Facebook Group, we got a lot of typefaces besides these seven. Here are a few more that were given to us:

  • Montserrat
  • Railway
  • Avenir
  • Bebas Neue
  • Open Sans
  • Proxima Nova

What typeface do you prefer to use to project your worship lyrics?

Want even more typefaces? Download The Essential Guide To The Best Free Fonts in our free Church Slide Design Makeover.

13 Comments

  • Great post, Jeff! I always love this conversation.

    I’ve been a big fan of the Dominican font (made famous in the Les Miserables poster/graphics). I typically lean on this font for more reflective, acoustic and neo-liturgical settings.

    For louder, rockin’ pop/contemporary worship settings, I have used Helvetica Bold (I LOVE the Helvetica documentary) and have recently started to use Gotham Bold. Both with a bit of negative “kerning” via ProPresenter so that it doesn’t look so plain.

    Other fonts I’ve used way back in my dark past but have since retired:
    – Myriad Pro Bold (i still like this font… just got tired of it after a while)
    – Handwriting Dakota (can’t stand this font anymore… eeessh)
    – Triplex Bold (way back in the day when ProPresenter & Passion used this font all the time… yeah, i admit it. I copied.)
    – Papyrus … really good for creating an ancient feel, like a weathered sandstone as if the Scriptures were freshly written. Kind of has a Middle Eastern vibe to it but without being too Arabic if that makes any sense. Really gives the worshiper a sense of authenticity when it comes to the Scriptures and so I….. OK I’m just kidding I freaking hate this stupid font!!! hahaha

  • Gus Peders says:

    I’m a fan of Bolton and Bolton Sans for more traditional songs, but have recently been using Optima a lot for them too. I really like using Aero Matics for driving, energetic songs.

  • We’ve used a ton of different fonts over the past, but lately I’ve been using a font called Blue Highway.

  • Becky says:

    We use Tahoma Negrata

  • Janith Mason says:

    I prefer Georgia. I find the sans serif fonts to be too corporate in their character, and Georgia provides an easily read presence.

  • Cameron Watford says:

    A friend of mine recently told me about Bebas Neue & Novacento Sans Wide. Really like the clean, sharp look they provide.

  • Keith Meadors says:

    Where can I find the Gotham font download?

  • bob says:

    I”m still amazed that every church I’ve ever attended who used projected lyrics — other than ones I’ve pastored — uses sans serif fonts for the lyrics.

    I find serif fonts (marin, times new roman, etc.) much easier to read, as do church attendees I’ve asked.

    Who decided that sans serif was the way to go? I’ve never read an explanation anywhere. Is there a reason?

    • Meagan Wright says:

      I know I have had some encounters with people who have dyslexia and some have issues with the serif markings.

      Hope this helps.

    • boomlikethat says:

      I’ve been doing typesetting and graphic design for over 20 years, and it’s mainly about readability. Generally, the sharp contrast of a serif font is easier to grasp on a screen.

      Serif fonts are typically used for lots of text, like in books. San serif is typically used for headlines and short lines of text.

      Serfis on short text blocks can be harder to absorb quickly when singing a song, unless you choose to put all of the lyrics on one screen.

  • Jay D. Locklear says:

    Quicksand (FontSquirrel) and Lato (Google Fonts) are two that I’ve been using lately, and +1 for Montserrat as mentioned in the article

  • Giancarlo Silva says:

    Avenir and Helvetica

  • Heather says:

    Verdana.

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