How to Choose a Font for Your Brand

The font that you choose will have a big impact on your brand, either for good or evil. Picking the right one and finding the right balance will ensure that your brand remains clear with its message easy to find.

Don’t let your message get lost in the middle of too boring, or too distracting font.

How to Choose a Font for Your Brand

There are a few things to consider when picking your font. Each small consideration will have big payoffs for your brand.

You may be asking though, why does font choice matter at all?

Why is Font Choice Important?

Font selection can be compared to your clothing choice. You dress a certain way to project a certain image, and you do the same thing with your font.

Just like the wrong outfit can be disastrous, picking a font that doesn’t match your brand or audience can have huge marketing problems. A poor choice of font can completely negate the message that you’re trying to deliver. Regardless of your best intentions, people will judge you based on your font before they ever get into your message.

First impressions matter, so think about how you’ll be portrayed. Make sure that all of your fonts complement each other. This will ensure that no one will have any confusion about your brand and your message.

The Difference Between Font and Typeface

Font and typeface are often used interchangeably, but that is simply not the case. These two terms may be similar, but they refer to different facets of text display.

The typeface is the design we see written. Examples of this are Ariel, Courier, and Times New Roman. This is usually what we refer to when we discuss font.

Times New Roman 12 and Times New Roman Italic 10 have the same typeface but a different font.

Font includes the typeface, the style, and the size.

Why the differentiation?

When printing was done by hand, typeface and font were very clear. For example, if the printer were using the typeface Garamond, then they would be using all of the thousands of metal blocks that were designed with the same design principles. The font would be a subset of blocks in the same typeface, but each font was a certain size and weight.

So now that these process no longer exist for the common man, it is easy to be confused. Now there are no material differences in size and weight, just a simple click of a digital file to change the look. Plus, Microsoft Word asks you to choose a font, not a typeface. This is because you’ll be working in a specific size and weight of a typeface. However, it has lead to the misuse of the terms we see today.

Just to be clear, typeface is the design we see written and font is the style of the design.

Serif or Sans Serif?

How to Choose a Font for Your Brand

Serif fonts are easy to find because of the small lines extending from each letter. In the past, all fonts were serif fonts. These fonts were easier to read, and still are. This explains why books and other large blocks of text are often written in serif. A common serif font is Times New Roman.

In contrast, sans serif are missing the line extension. Sans is a French word meaning ‘without’, which makes sense when you know the difference. Due to this fairly new style, it is seen as more of a younger type. These fonts are used mostly for words that convey innovation and bold ideas. Helvetica is a favorite sans serif font.

The last 15 years have seen sans serif dominate many sectors of branding. It is often seen as providing a bold, clean, and minimalist style. Many corporations have even changed to sans serif in their brands, although Gap’s change was brief after universal criticism.

Choose whether or not to use serif or sans serif in your brand using aesthetic and practical reasons. Retina displays have made it less of a concern which type you choose because both can be rendered crisply on small-sized screens. This has evened the playing field and left the choice up to you. Remember that serif tends to look more polished where sans serif is modern and fun.

SEE ALSO: 11 Popular Web Design Trends

Check Your Font’s Legibility

Some research has been conducted regarding legibility in typography. Some of the more important studies in the field include those by Poulton in 1955 (the importance of the x height of a typeface to its legibility), Foster and Bruce in 1982 (italics reduce reading speed), Breland and Breland in 1944 (text in all capital letters reduces reading speed by up to 20%), Smith and McCombs in 1971 (blank space around paragraphs helps increase legibility), and Strong in 1926 (blank space in text attracts and holds readers’ attention longer than text without such space). While this is not an exhaustive list of all research done in the field, Schriver suggested in 1997 that it presented a fair overview of some of the more important studies to that date.

John Thangaraj

Using this information, it’s important to remember that just because you can use a creative font, doesn’t mean that its the best option. Overdoing your font will take away from your brand and give you a typeface that can’t be read.

How to Choose a Font for Your Brand

A simple legibility test will make sure that your font works for you and not against you. Just check to see that every letter can be read and is distinguishable from the others. If your font is lacking definition or is taking up too much space, then explore a new font.

Corresponding or Contrasting Fonts?

You can use multiple fonts in your brand, but you have to be careful with it. Your logo should have its font decided on first, then your taglines and written materials.

It’s important that these fonts don’t compete with each other. All of your written material should support and enhance each other.

You should also be aware of what role your font is playing in each category. A headline font should draw attention and a body copy font should be easily legible.

How to Choose a Font for Your Brand

The different fonts that you use can create an impact when they work together. Use your font to make sure that your audience doesn’t pay more attention to something than they should. If your fonts are too similar than your logo won’t be able to stand out in a sea of the same font and your audience will spend more time figuring out if the fonts are similar rather than what your message is.

Choosing fonts that work together will create a clear impact on your reader and allow them to immerse themselves in the material of your brand.

Balance Your Display Fonts

Balancing your display fonts goes hand in hand with making sure that your fonts complement each other. You can use different fonts, but they need to stay in balance.

If your logo has a display font that has a lot of personality, often these are the fonts that are hand-lettered, you’ll want to avoid using it in other places so as to not overwhelm your audience.

Your display font is like an accent piece. With just the right amount of personality it can really tie everything together. However, too much will make a statement that you didn’t intend to.

Let your specialty typeface stand out in your logo by using corresponding branding materials to minimize your site’s aggression and bring balance to your display’s significance.

Do Your Font Choices Represent Your Brand?

Consider what your brand wants to say. What is its purpose? Are you providing news or talking to children? The types of font that match with your brand would be different depending on your purpose and not at all interchangeable.

Your logo and your font should immediately click with your brand and help your audience understand your goals.

“No matter what you do with your typography it always has an impact.”
Each element of the design contributes to user experience, typography is considered to be the core element because users spend more time reading texts than enjoying pictures or doing something else. All parameters applied to the web page typography, no matter what it is: spacing between letters, size, color etc., has a great psychological and emotional impact on viewers.

Alex Bulat

The font that you choose will be connected to your brand, even just on an emotional level. The New York Times has changed its font three times starting in 2003 in an attempt to increase its legibility. Each change has resulted in a backlash from their dedicated readers because it was seen as a change in the brand.

Even if your changes are deliberate and thought out, they may not be welcomed. Take the time, in the beginning, to ensure that your font is sending the message that you intend it to and that it continues to deliver information that is positive about your brand.

Final Thoughts

With all of the time you’ve invested in narrowing down your brand and getting a firm handle on the message you want to portray, the last thing you want is to lose all of that due to font choice. Pay close attention to your brand, legibility, and how well your fonts complement each other to ensure your brand is clear.

What are some brand that did a great job with their font?


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