How to Choose a Typeface

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Learn how to choose the most suitable typeface and font style for your brand.

 

The font and typeface that you choose can have a huge impact on your brand. One of the reasons is that the typefaces you choose for your brand can have a big impact on how your brand communicates with its customers. It is no secret that carefully-selected fonts and font styles can highlight the advantages of your brand and logo, while an unsuitable font can evoke nasty associations and even undermine trust. This is why choosing the best font and striking the optimal balance is likely to ensure that your brand remains clear, and its message is easy to understand.

If you choose font styles and a typeface that reflect your brand’s core values—fun or formal, conventional, or quirky—you will attract the right type of customers. Here is an example: geometric fonts that have homogenized proportions often represent design cleanliness, purity, and simplicity. These are values that most technology brands are very eager to express to their audience.

In contrast, many fashion brands these days have an enduring love affair with high contrast contemporary designs with their stylish hairline strokes, smooth arching curves, and bracketed serifs, expressing a timeless and elegant style.

Types of Fonts

Here are some basic typefaces and classifications:

Serif

You may know that serif fonts are the most classic and oldest typefaces. Note that a “serif” is usually a small decorative line you will see at the end of a character’s stroke. Usually, serif typefaces are simpler and easier to read, especially for lengthy stories than sans. This is because serif fonts will help your eyes travel across a line, particularly if lines are long.

Times New Roman is one of the most ubiquitous and popular examples. It is the default font for most people using MS Word. It is no secret that serif fonts are literary, classy, and high-end. They also tend to look more classic and serious. As a result, these classical and traditional fonts communicate respect for reverence, tradition, reliability, and comfort.

As they are very legible and your eyes are familiar with their shape, they are always an excellent choice for long paragraphs of text—such as books, fine print, and brochures.

On the other hand, using a serif font can be tricky if you plan to do anything embroidered for specialty swag as the delicate serifs can be lost or hard to produce in this process.

Sans Serif Fonts

Sans serif fonts don’t have the line extension. They are clean, modern, and upscale. These fonts do not have the little feet that a serifed font has. Another consideration is embroidery. Team shirts that need embroidery are better suited by using sans serifs.

It is worth noting that these fonts are often used for words that express innovation or bold ideas. And Helvetica and Arial are popular sans serif fonts. These fonts are excellent for general readability and tend to work incredibly well for the fine print. And that is not all; they also work well in lower resolutions, making them ideal for digital uses, such as e-readers and websites.

Italic Fonts

Look for fonts with true italic versions – many fonts just slant their san serif font at a 12-degree angle to create an italic look, but true italic versions of fonts are actually redrawn to create entirely different fonts. These are designed to coordinate well with their regular versions. These are sometimes labeled oblique instead of italic to indicate their slanted aspect.

Script Fonts

Note that script fonts often look as if they were written using a pen. These fonts communicate creative thought, elegance, and tenderness. Script fonts are also intuitive and look cursive. The availability of these fonts has skyrocketed in recent years, as people are looking for a unique and creative way to represent their brands.

Note that script fonts are available in many different styles, from elegant and traditional to hand-lettered and fun. You will find them on highly calligraphic styles, like wedding invitations, to the incredibly simple styles used by bloggers to emulate handwriting.

Display Fonts

These fonts are often meant to capture attention. They express uniqueness, emotional richness, and friendliness. Display fonts are usually more eye-catching and appealing than practical, and this is why they are often used in small doses.

How to Choose a Font Style for your Brand

Here is how to choose a font for your brand.

Use a Font that Reflects your Brand Identity

As a font makes your logo and brand memorable and recognizable, you should determine which font best suits your company. Is it clean, serious, and neat? Or is it airy, playful, and chaotic? Do you want to communicate novelty and innovation or cling to conservative ideas and traditions? You should consider exactly what your brand wants to say. For example, are you talking to children or providing news? Depending on your main purpose, the types of font that work with your brand will be different.

Also, different industries often rely on different values, and these values are communicated through different types of fonts. A bridal shop and a reputable law firm will have different logos. You should consider the kind of service or product you are offering and then identify your target audience.

A font must embody the spirit and character of your brand. You should match your font style to your brand’s purpose and character.

Legibility

You would like your typeface to be legible and clear, rather than unreadable. Note that if people have to spend a lot of time to understand what you have written, they will likely disregard your design. You should not use fancy fonts and uppercase text, especially in large bodies of text. This is because it strains your reader’s eye. You should only use decorative typefaces for headlines and titles.

Keep it Clean and Simple

You can easily reproduce a logo that has a clean font across different products. Keep in mind that you might need to enlarge or reduce it. You should ensure that your logo looks clean and attractive on any surface, such as a large banner, promotional materials, or a pen.

Restrict the Total Number of Fonts

Less is more. Don’t use more than 2 to 4 fonts in your design. Using too many fonts can look ugly and even arouse distrust among prospective clients. Keep in mind that high-profile companies often focus mainly on just a single font. Smaller businesses often use different fonts for company names and slogans. If you think that you need a new font for your design, play with various font sizes for current fonts.

Tips for Pairing Multiple Font Styles

Use Contrast

You should make sure that the font styles you choose contrast rather than compete with each other. Two decorative styles of fonts on the same page will likely compete with each other and won’t contrast. Although the variations in font categories, sizes, and weights do not need to be over the top, they have to be noticeable.

Keep in mind that fonts with different styles and weights tend to contrast well when paired together. You may experiment with italic and bold options in order to ensure that your fonts actually contrast each other.

Use Typefaces from the Same Family

Note that using typefaces and fonts from the same family is usually a safe bet; they were created in order to work together after all. You should look for font families that have a range of options (different styles, weights, and cases). This will ensure that you have enough variation.

Use Pairing Resources

You can find tons of valuable typographic resources on the web that you will find very helpful when pairing different fonts together. For example, sites such as Typewolf provide inspiration, ideas and updates on trends as well as popular font styles currently used on the web. You can achieve better results by using these resources.

Consider Context

The place your design will appear will also help you figure out what fonts will work well for your project. Note that the text must be easily readable and legible at the size it will be displayed. Besides size, font styles can also affect readability. You should choose fonts that will fit the overall context of your design by matching the various attributes of your message with the specific traits of a typeface.

Final Thoughts

After investing so much time in narrowing down your brand and getting a grip on the precise message that you want to convey, the last thing you really want is to lose it all because of a poor font choice. Once you get a better idea of what type of fonts will work well for your brand, it is easier and quicker to create a style guide that ensures your company’s marketing remains cohesive across various platforms. So, pay special attention to your brand, font legibility, and how well the fonts you have chosen complement each other in order to ensure your brand is clear.

by:

Margaret Foster


August 31, 2020

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