graphic for blog post canva fonts to avoid

Canva Fonts you should avoid (and more importantly, why)

December 13, 2021

First of all, wow! I knew that Canva had a lot of fonts, but I definitely didn’t realize just how extensive their collection was until I decided to scroll through the whole thing to create this list for you ladies (I’m talking several hundred!!). My eyes are actually tired. With so many fonts to choose from it can be hard to pick! That being said, quantity does not mean quality.

There are a lot of horrendous fonts on that platform (170-ish), fonts that can make your badass content look unprofessional, illegible, and downright tacky, which is why I decided to create these two lists: Fonts to Avoid and Fonts to Use with Caution.

It’s really easy to get caught up in a snazzy display font, trust me I know, but to get your content, businesses, and platforms out there to your communities and to have it taken seriously, it’s important that you know what to avoid. That’s why to help you DIY designers out there make good design decisions, I also included some tips and tricks for avoiding bad fonts in the future.

There are a lot of nitty, gritty technical things that can determine a fonts value, but for the sake of this article I am going to focus specifically on the aspects that matter to you as DIY designers, small business owners, and bloggers: legibility and professionalism.

How to spot a font to avoid

  • Textures: In most cases textures quickly turn a professional looking design into a tacky one.
  • “Stencil” fonts: No. Just no.
  • Poor Kerning: If there are big and inconsistent gaps between some of the letters or words it’s a bad font. While you can change the overall kerning of your typography with Canva, you can’t customize the individual spaces between each letter to be able to fix this design problem so the type in your design will just look bad.
  • Hard to Read: One of the most important qualities of a font is that it is immediately easy to read. If your audience has to work to understand your content they may misread it or get frustrated and give up.
  • Inconsistent: If there are inconsistencies in the letters like their sizes or their thickness/thinness then it is a poorly designed font and really needs to be avoided.
  • Really Big Capital Letters: This can cause legibility issues, especially when you have several rows on type. Plus, to be honest, it’s just not a good look!
canva fonts to avoid graphic for blog post kerning texture stencil

Spot Fonts to Use with caution

  • Display: Decorative and interesting display fonts can be hard resist, but like textures, they can easily take a design down the wrong path. High quality design supports the content/message you’re sharing, but since these fonts are so attention grabbing, they can be distracting and steal the attention away from the content/message instead.
  • Shadows and Outlines: While these can be cool design elements, they can really hurt legibility when they come pre-attached to a font. It’s best that shadows and outlines are separate elements from your font that you can change and edit.
  • “Wide”: It’s hard to use an extra wide font well, even for a designer, because they can be so cumbersome and use space in a unique way.
  • Script “Hand-Written”: I give Canva credit, they have some pretty nice script fonts, but they have quite a few duds too. When you’re picking a script font you really need to make sure that it’s easy to read, that the letters have a smooth transition from one to the next, and that the letters don’t have too much variation in size between the capital and lower-case letters.
  • Non-Script “Hand-Written”: These are even harder to pick because there are so many variations so it really depends on what your content and message are. With these font types I suggest finding ones that aren’t too over the top.
good script fonts on canva to use blog post
bad script fonts on canva to avoid blog post

Things to consider when choosing a font

  • Does the font highlight your content and elevate it, or does it distract from what you’re trying to say?
  • Is the font easy to read? It doesn’t hurt to ask someone else to take a look since you already know what the design is supposed to say.
  • Does this font match your brand, content, and message?
  • What is the vibe or feel of the font?
  • Where are you using the font and how big will it be? For example, you don’t want to use display or decorative fonts for your smaller content, these are meant for things like headers and titles.

A few notes about this list

These are going to seem like a really long lists and like I’m telling you not to use most of the fonts on Canva, but that’s not the case I swear! Like I mentioned in the intro, this platform has several hundred fonts, so 170-ish really isn’t that many in context. I also think it’s important to mention that I only sifted through the Free English Fonts section because I felt that’s where most of you were going to be doing their own searches. Finally, while I was putting it together, I did my best to keep my own personal aesthetic out of the picture, focusing on the key aspects I described above and the design of the letter forms to filter through all the fonts.

list of canva fonts to avoid graphic for blog post
list of canva fonts to avoid graphic for blog post

Some final but important notes

I sincerely believe that the fonts in the Fonts to Avoid list are lame and shouldn’t be used if you want your work to look professional, BUT like with everything there are always going to be exceptions and it is ultimately your decision about whether or not they fit your content. I can give you tons of do and don’t lists when it comes to design, but at the end of the day, as a DIY designer you are going to be the one who makes the choices about what is best for your brand. It’s simply my hope that the tools I share will help you make choices that lead you to design worthy of your badass content and a successful brand.

If you have any questions about this article or fonts don’t hesitate to reach out! Design is not black and white, it’s not even grey—it’s a damn rainbow—so it can be challenging to know whether you’re making the right design decisions or headed in the right direction for your brand. I am always happy to help.