Typography is central to defining the look of your branding in both print and online. It’s worth noting how some businesses have experienced backlash as a result of quickly trying to change the font of their logo without doing the proper research and analysis. Imagine seeing your favourite brands’ logos with different fonts, and how that would impact your perception of the companies.
Brands have style guides so that their fonts and typefaces stay consistent from project to project and over the years. Style guides are also definitive maps for brand colour palettes, logo variations, overall tone, and other key brand characteristics.
So how does one approach selecting great fonts and typefaces that fit the overall goals for a branding project? Let’s start by discussing how typography plays a vital role in the branding process:
The Vital Role of Typography in Branding
Beauty and Legibility
Typography refers to the use and arrangement of type. Typography is central to the history of published literature. The process historically involved manual and mechanized methods for creating words in specific styles. More specifically, typefaces are collections of fonts, known as font families. Various kinds of fonts in a font family include thin and bold fonts.
The style and spacing of words and letters impact how people read and perceive words in print and online. While most people don’t notice fonts in their daily lives, designers spend a lot of time considering the merits and challenges of typefaces in their projects. If letters are too closely or widely spaced, for example, this may impact how people read the text.
Logos for brands may have typefaces that are distinctive or somewhat generic. It’s often the entire look of the words – such as the colour, spacing, and design – that makes a brand unique. Designers work with fonts to create styles such as carefully crafted gradients, letterpress effects, and other variations.
The Psychology of How Words Look
Branding decisions involve considering how people perceive typefaces and fonts. The look of text can communicate a lot about a brand, such as clarity, boldness, creativity, or a sense of joy. Disjointed fonts and type can create confusion, which should generally be avoided. Eventually, a typeface or font can become nearly synonymous with a brand.
It’s interesting to consider how people associate specific typefaces with scenarios. For example, cartoon fonts (such as the notorious Comic Sans) tend to look casual, handwritten, and unprofessional. In contrast, serif fonts, such as Caslon, tend to look more formal. Meanwhile, sans-serif fonts, such as Avenir, tend to have a clean, modern look that is easier to read online. Slab fonts have gained popularity in recent years, such as Museo Slab.
When choosing a typeface and font, designers often consider the industry of their client, overall branding goals, and how the fonts will look in various print or online projects. A font that doesn’t read well in a logo for social media or on small screens can be a big problem. Meanwhile, a well-chosen font for a logo helps the brand become part of the larger culture.
How Typography Creates Order
In addition to logos, carefully chosen typefaces are also crucial for headlines, slogans, and body copy. The headlines and subheadlines are typically bolder than the body copy, for example. This creates a sense of information hierarchy that tells the readers which information is the most important to read first.
Type and Brand Recognition
Using a high-quality typeface across branding materials online and in print creates a consistent brand image. While it may take some time for audiences to adjust to a new look or re-brand, eventually people connect the look of a brand with the product, business, or customer experience. It’s important to use carefully selected fonts with consistency and repetition to strengthen branding goals. Fonts that work harmoniously with a brand will gain traction, while fonts that just don’t resonate for a brand could be problematic over time.
If you’re not sure how a typeface or font will work online or in print, do some research. Perform some user testing online, analyse the contrast of fonts, and perform surveys so that you can better understand how people perceive the typefaces and fonts you want to use.
In terms of app and web development, it’s often advisable to carefully limit your typeface and font choices to enhance clarity and ease of use. Many developers suggest using between two and five font families – and some say stick to two or three.
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