There’s a reason design professionals everywhere love to poke fun at Comic Sans: its slightly disheveled appearance lends an air of unsophistication to just about anything it graces.
The truth is, those designers are onto something. Fonts matter, and they matter a lot. The font you choose as your primary brand typeface sends a message to the world about the integrity of your business. It tells a story by bringing a voice and a personality to your brand.
Whether you realize it or not, we’ve all been conditioned—through various forms of communication and branding—to associate certain types of fonts with particular characteristics. A slab serif, for instance, coveys a message of strength and durability, while a thin, geometric sans serif suggests a feeling of friendliness and approachability.
A successful brand font design should speak to the founding principles of your company—characteristics like trust, dedication, responsibility—while also taking into account the current design trends in your particular field. For example, it was once common for businesses like banks and other financial institutions to overwhelmingly favor traditional serif fonts in their logos and branding (think Times New Roman or Garamond) because those are the types of brand typefaces that are typically associated with the common banking values of authority and leadership. But since the financial crisis hit, banks are striving to regain the trust of their customers and have adjusted their looks a bit, favoring instead the softer, rounder sans serif fonts (like Century Gothic or Futura) that are known to convey a more approachable sense of confidence and professionalism.
As you work to establish your own brand typeface, you’ll first need to choose between the five general categories:
- Serif – Because of their deep-rooted ties to the Roman era, serif fonts are strongly associated with academia and other more classic, bookish subject matters.
- Sans Serif – Sans serif fonts surged in popularity with the growth of digital media and therefore project a more youthful, contemporary feel.
- Slab – Slab fonts are blocky versions of serif fonts and are known for their strong, commanding visual presence.
- Script – Script fonts are designed to mimic cursive or calligraphic handwriting. Their intricacy conveys a sense of gentle elegance.
- Decorative – Characterized by their unique and highly stylized features, decorative fonts are incredibly eye-catching and best suited for display purposes.
No matter which direction you ultimately choose to go, the most important feature to consider is legibility. If your brand typeface is tough to read, you’ll frustrate your audience and they’ll quickly lose interest in the message you’re trying to convey. You’ll also want to consider a brand typeface that:
- Isn’t overly trendy or likely to look dated in a short amount of time.
- Is somewhat unique and does not closely mimic that of an existing, well-known brand.
- Mixes well with other, complimentary fonts.
- Includes various weights and a full range of special characters to maximize usability.
Unfortunately, there is no magical formula for determining your ideal brand font style. But by choosing a brand typeface that is strong, clear and indicative of your core values, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a strong visual presence in the marketplace.
For help establishing a brand typeface for your business, contact Paradigm Marketing & Design to schedule a consultation.