Frequently Asked Questions
Signatures on Documents – A Little Insight into How Best to Add Signatures to Your Documents
Should I add signatures to my documents using custom fonts or images?
Back in the 1970s, some models of laser printers did not support images, so developers started making custom fonts for signatures and logos. This is no longer necessary, as modern printers all support printing of images. If your end goal is just printing on paper, either will work fine.
If you decide to use custom fonts, you need to be aware if your printer and your document composition tools use different font formats.
Most Windows design tools use TrueType vector fonts to display your page layout. But your printer may require AFP, Xerox, PCL or PostScript fonts. In that case, when you have a TrueType font built, you should have the same person or company create the printer format at the same time so that they match and the same part of the signature or logo is in the same character in both the display and the printer fonts.
If your documents need to meet ADA requirements (or other disability requirements for your country), then you need to think of how that signature will be read out loud by a screen reader. If you use a signature font with the signature in “ABCD”, the screen reader will read it as “A B C D”, and the listener may be confused.
If you use an image format, when the document is made into accessible PDF, an alternate text description will be assigned to the image. The alternate text will be read by the screen reader, so it could read out “signature of John Smith” instead of just “ABCD”. Since failure to make your documents accessible to your customers can lead to fines, it is recommended to put signatures and logos into images.
If you need help with signature fonts or images, or with making your documents ADA or Section 508 compliant, contact Dr. FontZ at COPI.