How To Choose the Right Typeface For Your Brand

January 11, 2016


 

Making Your Type Work For You

The font you choose for your logo and branding materials speaks to your audience about your business- and with so many options to choose from, you need to be sure that what your typeface says about you is the message you want to convey! At the same time, choosing a font can be an intimidating process. Not only do you need to make sure that you like the font and that its message resonates with your brand, you’ll also need to know that the font you have chosen can work well with other fonts and for a variety of uses.

Follow these steps in order to choose the best typeface for your brand:

Which Font is the Most Practical?

A comparison of two fonts, one practical and one showing personality

It is no doubt that each font has its own personality, but taking the time to rake through the personality profiles of all created fonts is a daunting and impossible task. Instead, take the time to consider the function of the font, how you will use it, and whether it will be the most relevant for use in all occasions. Consider some typefaces that have an overall and reliable usage, even across weights and cuts. These will be stronger choices for your brand!

Do You Want a Serif or a Sans Serif?

Comparison image between a serif and sans serif font

Fonts can generally be characterized between two key differences: whether they are serif fonts or sans serif fonts. Serifs have extra lines attached to their letters and portray an air of tradition. A common serif font is Times New Roman. Sans serif fonts are those without the flourishes and are largely considered to be more modern. Helvetica is one such font. While script and decorative fonts do exist, these are generally not going to be the kind of go-to style that you use for your regular branding. Therefore, once you have narrowed down your choice to serif or sans serif, your branding will take on a more modern or traditional vibe.

How Legible Is the Font?

Comparison between one legible and one illegible font

Just because you may be able to use a creative font does not mean that this is the best choice! Overdoing font design does not give your brand the life it deserves, but rather can create a typeface that can’t be read. Checking legibility is simple. Ensure that every letter can be read and is distinguishable against other letters. If the font is taking up too much space or lacking in definition, then another font should be explored.

Do You Want Corresponding or Contrasting Fonts?

Comparison of fonts that complement one another

While your logo may have one font, your tagline or written materials may have a completely different one. These different types can work off of one another and create an impact when they correspond or contrast with one another. Why? You never want to confuse your customer into paying attention to something they should not be. If your fonts are too similar, someone may spend more time figuring out if the fonts are the same rather than paying attention to what you’re projecting. Choosing fonts that correspond with or completely contrast from one another creates a clear impact for the viewer, and allows them to dig into the deeper meaning of your brand!

Balance Your Display Fonts

Example of a display font versus a body font

If your logo design uses a hand-lettered or otherwise display font that possesses a significant amount of personality, you want to apply sparingly to avoid overwhelming your customer. A display font is similar to an accent piece- with just the right pop of color, it can bring an outfit together, but too much can create an unintended statement. In order to let this display or specialty typeface stand out for the logo, all corresponding branding materials should utilize a less aggressive font to balance the display’s significance.

Does Your Font Represent Your Brand?

What is the purpose of your business? Are you providing news? Catering to toddlers? The kind of font that would be applicable for each of these would be vastly different, and you would not use the same type of font for one as you would for the other. When users see your logo and your brand, they should be able to immediately understand your goals. Choosing a font that amplifies your brand and conveys information to your customer is the one you want to choose.

Consider The New York Times. For years, The New York Times used the iconic Times New Roman typeface. In 2003, the main page and main news switched to variations of the type Cheltenham- a move aimed at enhancing page legibility and order while projecting a traditional but not old-fashioned presence. In 2013, the Times altered its online presence to reflect similar values in the face of technological changes. Now, the New York Times online uses Georgia as their main font and Arial as a sans serif font. Each of these changes has been deliberate and resulted in backlash from their readership. Fonts come to be identified with a brand, and you can take some concrete steps to ensure that the message you convey is exactly the one you intend to!