Fonts and Branding
May The Fonts Be With You
As you know–hopefully–brand building is about stories, connections, and making an impact. One area at which you need to look that actually helps you in all aspects of your brand is your brand’s choice in fonts. The question that many non-designers have a hard time understanding is that font selection really does matter, and you shouldn’t just use the default font on your computer. If you already have a logo design you more than likely have a primary font chosen—if not, then you need one. More importantly, you need one that matches the aesthetic of your brand. Your choice in the fonts you use can change the way in which your brand communicates with the world and how your brand is perceived by the world. There are different groups of fonts that you should know and understand to help guide you in choosing the font(s) to help represent your brand. Fonts or front families are grouped into categories related to similar attributes.
Any list of fonts starts with serif fonts. Serif fonts are the oldest of the fonts. The term serifapplies to fonts with is the characteristic of small lines attached to the end of a letter or symbol. Serif fonts tend to be viewed as classical, sophisticated, reliable, and formal. For many people serif font “read” better on printed material when it comes to large, extended bodies of text. The most known serif font used today is Times New Roman.
Slab serif fonts are similar to serif fonts, but they have a blockier serif typically the same weight as the main font body. Slab serif fonts are not typically ideal for reading large bodies of text. More often than not they are used for headlines and logos.
Sansis French for without, meaning that sans serif fonts do not have the small lines attached to the letter. As you read this article you are, in fact, reading a sans serif font. Sans serif fonts tend to be considered trendy, bold, modern, and friendly. When you are displaying text electronically, sans serif fonts tend to work the best. Some of the most used sans serif fonts today are Helvetica, Gotham, or Arial.
Sans serif fonts tend to offer different weights or thicknesses which can greatly impact how the font is perceived. Thinner weights lend to a sense of prestige and glamour, whereas thicker versions produce a sense of toughness and ruggedness.
Display or decorative fonts are designed to evoke a specific emotion in the person looking at it. These fonts are tricky in that often the feelings these fonts evoke are strong and based on personal taste. Display or decorative fonts are never a good idea for large amounts of text as they can be difficult to read and understand. These fonts tend to come and go as they are viewed as being almost entirely trendy, meaning that they can quickly fall out of favor or out of style quickly. A commonly known and despised examples of this type of font is Comic Sans.
Script fonts are often designed to give a handwriting or cursive feel. Script fonts can be seen anywhere from wedding invitations to blogging. Script fonts do not lend themselves to large bodies of text, as it can cause the reader to have a hard time understanding what is being said. With the decline of teaching cursive in school, the idea of these being readable to future generations could be in question.
It is good practice as you set out to develop your brand that you create a pairing of acceptable fonts that help convey the message you want to convey with your brand. Often you can pair two different types of fonts that contrast while still flowing well together. This can be a sans serif font for your headlines and a serif font for the bodies.
You can also choose just one font, then separate your headlines and body solely by using different font size and weights.
No More than Three
As you expand your font usage, it is best practice to never use more than three fonts at a time. By having too many fonts you create unbalance and make it a harder for the reader to understand what is going on.
You can see examples of font pairings by visiting canva.com, where they have provided 20 sets of fonts that work well together.
Ideas To Make Your Brand Better Now:
- Determine the type of font characteristic that works best for your brand
- Find the font paring that will help your brand achieve the characteristic your looking for
- Begin using the fonts everywhere your brand interacts with customers.