Discovering Fonts with Hua Shu

Collage of FontDiscovery newsletters

Visual by Hua Shu

This interview is part of a series that focuses on creators who live at the intersection of writing and art. The goal is to provide inspiration and practical tips for anyone looking to add more visuals to their work.

I’ll admit it. I’m terrible with font choice and I get overwhelmed when I look at a drop down menu of 100+ fonts. I know that fonts can be critical for a successful visual, but I don’t really know where to begin. 

Luckily I recently discovered FontDiscovery, a great design-focused newsletter from Hua Shu. Hua is an experienced designer who is generous with the knowledge she shares around fonts and good design. I love that each issue of her newsletter showcases one specific font along with various use cases. It’s very beginner friendly and walks anyone interested in upping their design game through all sorts of helpful tips. 

No matter what your interest is in visuals, it never hurts to add some good foundational knowledge around fonts. Hua was kind enough to let me pick her brain below. Enjoy!

Tell us about the creative projects you work on.

I write a weekly newsletter called FontDiscovery, to share design ideas, resources, inspirations, and actionable marketing tips with makers and creators. I’m working on launching a design tool with my co-founder, Wenting. I also draw comics about design and branding on my Twitter every week!

How did you get so interested in fonts and design in general?

I enjoyed drawing and painting when I was a child. However, as I grew older, I realized it was tough to make a living as a full-time fine artist, so I turned to design instead. Eventually, I started liking design better because I loved creating work to solve a specific problem, shipping things fast, and expressing myself digitally. 

What should a writer or creator who doesn’t have a lot of design knowledge know about fonts? 

Fonts have tones and personalities. You can use them as a way to express yourself. For example, if you create a design with big, bold letters, you might be making a point of emphasis. If you create a design with thin, small, spaced-out letters, it might suggest calmness. 

bold font says "screaming" and different font says "calm"

What is your favorite font? And what is your favorite font for blogs/websites?

I just covered Terminal Grotesque in the latest issue of my newsletter, and I like it a lot. It has an eclectic vibe because it combines modern characteristics in letterforms with more retro aesthetics like pixelation. As a result, there is a weird, vibrating visual texture when you use this font in design. 

says "Hey Terminal Grotesque"

I enjoy Libre Franklin for blogs and websites. It’s a sans serif with a friendly vibe, and it has a lot of weights for makers to choose from. Sometimes when I write, I have many different levels of information (header and several levels of subhead, body, bullet points, captions). Having a versatile font that has many weights helps with creating clear information levels … a lot!

says "Hi! I'm Libre Franklin"

What tools do you use when you create something visually?

I use Figma and my laptop. I use Notion or Google Docs to do research and write ideas down. 

Do you have any favorite creators who work at the intersection of writing and art?

I really like the work of Aletheia Délivré (@delivreal), whom I think was featured here previously [note: She was! Check it out here]. I also really enjoy the work of @LumrahLanyard. They create satire comics around work and corporate culture.

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