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How to Use Custom Fonts in Substack

How to Use Custom Fonts in Substack

Creating a strong visual identity for a newsletter can significantly impact how readers engage with the content. Custom fonts are an excellent tool for branding and can help a publication stand out in Substack’s growing community of creators. They offer a way to inject personality and coherence into a newsletter’s design, making it more memorable and professional-looking to subscribers.

Substack provides a straightforward method for publishers to personalize their publications with custom fonts. Through a simple trip to the publication’s settings, users can access design options that allow them to tailor the appearance of their titles and body text. This customization capability enables writers to align the visual elements of their newsletters with their unique brand identities.

Understanding Custom Fonts

When incorporating custom fonts into Substack, it’s essential to have clarity about font licensing and to understand the variety of font types available.

Font Licensing and Permissions

Before selecting a custom font, one must ensure they have the legal right to use it. Licensing terms vary, and they must carefully review and comply with these terms to avoid copyright infringement. Many fonts require a purchase or subscription for their legal use, while others might be available for free with certain restrictions.

Types of Fonts

Fonts come in different styles and serve various purposes. The most common types include:

  • Serif fonts: Characterized by small lines at the ends of characters (e.g., Times New Roman).
  • Sans-serif fonts: No small lines on characters, providing a modern look (e.g., Arial).
  • Script fonts: Resemble handwriting, ranging from elegant cursive to casual (e.g., Brush Script).
  • Display fonts: Ideal for titles and headers due to their striking appearance (e.g., Impact).

Each font type adds a distinct personality and should align with the newsletter’s tone and content.

Setting Up Custom Fonts in Substack

To personalize a publication, Substack allows the use of custom fonts. This customization can make a newsletter more engaging and reflective of a brand’s identity.

Accessing the Substack Editor

A user can select new fonts for their publication by navigating to the publication’s Settings page within Substack. From there, one should scroll down to the Website section and click on the Customize button next to Site Design. This takes them to a dashboard where font options are available for both titles and body text.

Using Custom CSS for Fonts

For those with knowledge of CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, Substack provides an option to apply custom CSS for a more tailored appearance. One must locate the Custom CSS box within the Customize section of the Settings page. Here, custom font styles can be implemented by entering the appropriate CSS code that defines the desired font family and other font attributes.

Implementing Custom Fonts

Implementing custom fonts in Substack enhances the visual identity of one’s newsletter. This process allows for a personalized approach to how titles and body text appear. The following subsections detail the steps one needs to take to use custom fonts in a Substack publication.

Upload Custom Fonts

Before one can use custom fonts, they must be uploaded to a web server or a third-party host. Readers must have access to these fonts; hence, they should be hosted in a location that allows public access.

Add Font-Face Declaration

Once the fonts are uploaded, a CSS @font-face declaration is needed. Users should include this declaration within their Substack CSS settings:

@font-face {
  font-family: 'YourCustomFontName';
  src: url('YourFontURL.woff2') format('woff2'),
       url('YourFontURL.woff') format('woff');

Assigning Fonts to Elements

To apply the custom font, one assigns the font-family to the desired elements on their Substack page. This is done through the CSS settings:

h1, h2, h3 {
  font-family: 'YourCustomFontName', fallback-font, sans-serif;

body {
  font-family: 'YourCustomFontName', fallback-font, serif;

A fallback font ensures text is still readable in case the custom font fails to load.

Font Management Best Practices

When selecting custom fonts for a Substack publication, creators must balance aesthetic appeal with practical considerations. The following best practices help ensure that fonts contribute positively to the reader’s experience.

Maintain Readability

The primary goal of choosing a font should be to make the text easy to read. Creators should:

  • Use simple fonts for body text to aid in readability.
  • Limit the number of different fonts used to a maximum of three to avoid visual clutter.

Ensure Compatibility

To make sure that all readers have the same experience, regardless of their device:

  • Test fonts on various devices and browsers before finalizing.
  • Choose fonts that are web-safe to ensure they display correctly for every reader.

Optimize for Performance

The efficiency with which a newsletter loads is greatly affected by font choices. Publications should:

  • Use fonts that are optimized for the web to reduce load times.
  • Implement fallback fonts in CSS in case the custom font fails to load.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

When customizing fonts in Substack, users may encounter certain issues. This section provides solutions to the most common font-related problems that can arise on the platform.

Font Not Displaying

If a selected custom font isn’t appearing, one should first check the publication’s settings to confirm the correct font was chosen. If it’s correct, caching issues may be the culprit. Users can try clearing their browser’s cache and refreshing the page to see if the font displays correctly.

Font Rendering Issues

Fonts may sometimes appear distorted or pixelated. This can be due to the font file not being properly served or an issue with the font itself. Ensuring that the font is compatible with Substack and that users are working with high-quality font files might resolve this.

Cross-Browser Compatibility

Fonts might display differently across various browsers. Testing the publication in multiple browsers helps identify any inconsistencies. If problems are observed, selecting a more universally compatible font or adjusting fallback fonts can improve the consistency of the font display.