What your Font Says About Your Brand – Beginners Guide to Typography

Ripped poster showing different types of typography

Brand identity is made up of visual elements such as color, design and logo. These elements play a crucial role in setting your brand apart from others and creating recognition in the consumers’ mind. All of the visual elements you use to define your brand are equally important, though one element, typography, is often overlooked. The font you use is important for many reasons, but it says a lot about your brand up front. 

What is Typography?

The dictionary defines typography as “the style, arrangement, or appearance of typeset matter,” but it is really so much more. Beyond arranging letters and text in a visually appealing, clear and legible way, typography combines font style, structure and appearance to evoke specific emotions from the reader. Similar to color psychology, fonts can also elicit different emotional responses from your audience. Similar to spoken words, it is not just what you say, but also how you say it. 

There are fonts out there for every brand personality. Whether you are looking to convey a more serious and formal tone, or a lighter and more whimsical tone, the font you choose can help you achieve that.

Why is typography important?

Typography is everywhere. Anything that has text, has typography. Think everything from your brands website, to your social media pages, marketing materials and even your logo. Because typography makes up so much of your brand’s identity, it is crucial to put as much thought into that as you do your other design elements.

  • Experience: every time a consumer comes into contact with your brand, it is an experience. Typography will help consumers have either a good experience or a bad one. Have you ever encountered a webpage with difficult to read text? You probably strained your eyes trying to read it. That was a bad experience, due to typography, that you had with a brand.
  • Meaning: typography plays an important role in conveying the values and tone of your brand. There are so many different kinds of typefaces because each one promotes a different mood or emotion.
  • Brand recognition: typography plays an integral role in how your audience perceives and remembers you. Think of brands such as Disney or Apple. The fonts they use are instantly recognizable. You know your brand recognition is working when people can recognize it by the font.

What your font says about your brand

In order to choose an effective font, you must establish the brand identity you are trying to create. What tone do you want to set? When considering a font, think about where you will be using it. Are you mainly based online? Do you use a lot of print marketing materials? You want to find a font that embodies the values of your brand while also creating a positive experience for consumers.

Script font

Script font is significantly fancier than most font types. Script resembles handwritten lettering and embodies traits such as elegance, sophistication and creativity. Using a script font can help make your company feel more personal and it is more likely to inspire creative and emotional feelings. Notable brands that use script fonts in their logos include Instagram, Cadillac and Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola logo
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coca-Cola_logo.svg

Serif font

You can’t get more traditional than a serif font. They’ve been in use since the invention of printing. Serif fonts evoke feelings of culture and class and are best used when you want to portray your company as established. Serif fonts promote trust and respect and are perfect for high end brands or brands with authority. Notable brands that use serif fonts in their logos are Dior, Gap, and The New York Times. 

The New York Times logo
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_New_York_Times_logo.png

Sans serif font

Sans serif fonts are clean, modern and very easy to read. Ditching the decorative elements on your lettering promotes a simple and no-nonsense vibe. Sans serif fonts are best for brands that want to demonstrate honesty and simplicity. Notable brands that use sans serif font are Chanel, Linkedin, and Google. 

Google 2015 logo
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Google_2015_logo.svg

Modern font

Modern fonts are perfect for bold and progressive brands. Similar to sans serif with its simplicity, modern fonts are simple and legible, though can include horizontal serifs in some designs. Modern fonts promote feelings of exclusivity and intelligence. Notable brands that use modern fonts are Hulu, Facebook and Shutterfly.

Display font

Display font is the font type for inspiration. These fonts are unique and stand out much more than the other types. Display fonts add personality to your brand and elicit strong emotional responses. Display fonts work for most brands regardless of your personality as they are highly customizable. Notable brands that use display fonts are Disney, McDonalds and Lego.

Pro tip: make sure that whatever font you end up going with is legible.

Typography and print

If you are designing for print marketing materials, it is important that you embed your fonts by flattening your PDF. Most printers do not have specialty fonts downloaded and will replace them with what the computer thinks is a similar font. In order to avoid this issue, it is best to flatten your PDF before sending it to your printer. Contact Printivity if you have any questions regarding flattening your file.

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