The right typography can increase brand recognition by contributing to its personality and better user perception. Many studies found that unappealing fonts tend to reflect badly on the readers’ emotional response to content. Fonts influence your readers’ subconscious perception of your brand.
This is why selecting brand typography that conveys your business’s personality and values is one of the key elements of visual branding. The unity between the right font and design will not only boost your brand but also help you visualize your message to your customers.
What Is Brand Typography?
Brand typography is a visual element of the brand style guide, or a brand book, that arranges your business’s written copy in a legible way and aligns your messaging with your brand personality.
Brand typography is not quite the same as brand font or typeface, although they are all closely related.
Typography is the collection of traits that support the design, brand voice, and personality of a business on all digital and traditional channels. But fonts are the element of the typography itself.
How Font Can Boost Your Brand Identity
Even though you may not notice it, typography comprises a large part of a brand identity.
The aspects of a brand such as a logo, packaging, emails, documents, website, and social media imagery include a good amount of typography.
So, being such an important part of a brand – how DOES typography boost the brand?
Typography gives the brand a meaning: Typefaces and fonts convey the values and the tone of your brand just like your colors do. Typography has a diverse set of connotations and presents What your brand stands for clean, modern, and simple sans-serif fonts reverberate with the audience differently than old-fashioned serifs. Monospaced fonts have a technological feel while blackletter while script fonts are more personal. That’s why it is important to choose typography wisely AND understand why you’re using it.
Typography defines the way people experience your brand: Your customers are seeing your brand’s messages on TV, in online ads, and in retail stores and read about you online and in the press. They experience your brand through words and branding is, very much, a sum of experiences your customers have with your business. Positive experiences form positive brand connotations. Typographical mistakes such as small fonts on a website – one of the main web users’ complaints – lead to bad brand experiences.
It changes users’ perception and builds brand recognition: Typography and fonts affect the way your audience sees and remembers your brand because they are a large part of your visual identity. A unique typeface is instantly recognizable – think of widely admired brands like Coca-Cola or Disney that have even created and registered their own typeface as a way of making it a part of their identity. Think about your own business and audit typography across all touchpoints by considering many things.
Before you adopt typography, though, you should understand these stages in the process of choosing a font.
1. Define Your Brand’s Personality
Brand personality is a cornerstone of a brand identity that also boosts brand awareness.
It is a collection of traits that your customers relate to and associate you with and remember you for.
Brand fonts and typography, much like other brand components, must be aligned with your brand’s personality. You may have already defined your brand’s personality in concrete terms, but if not – invest time into thinking about how you would like your brand to be perceived.
Brand owners, managers, decision-makers, and very much everyone comprising your team should think in terms of the main types of brand personalities, or brand dimensions, and their common traits.
2. Understand The Personality Of Every Typeface
Only, of course – fonts and typographies have their own personalities and characters, as was discussed earlier. So you need to know these as well.
Font psychology is understanding that every typeface has its own unique traits. They come in categories which are classifications for better identifying and choosing fonts.
The basic font categories and their traits are:
Serif: Traditional, classical, reliable. For brands that convey a sense of respectability and age-long class.
Some of the Serif fonts are:
- Times New Roman
Sans-serif: Minimal, clean, contemporary. For brands that evoke a sense of cleanliness and modern directness.
Some of the Sans-serif fonts are:
- Droid Sans
Script: Unique, elegant, distinctive. For brands that emphasize their special purpose.
Some of the Script fonts are:
- Alex Brush
Handwritten: Arty, informal, fun. For brands that present themselves as playful and approachable.
Some of the Handwritten fonts are:
- Porcelain Sans Serif
Decorative: Dramatic, stylized, diverse. For brands that aim to be instantly memorable.
Some of the Decorative fonts include:
Slab serif: Confident, bold, off-beat. For brands with a proven history of quality.
Some of the Slab serif fonts are:
- PT Sans Pro
- Avant Garde
- Dejavu Pro
- Elegant, script fonts
Elegant and distinctive script fonts are a good choice for brands that wish to point out their uniqueness.
3. Choose A Typeface That Is A Match For Your Brand Personality
Now that you have established your brand’s personality and have a better understanding of each font category’s traits, it’s time to find a typeface that is the right fit for you.
Each font category, of course, comes with its own variations so when you’re pairing the two fonts you need to be aware of the end result this will produce.
Certain typeface pairings and single usage work better for certain brand personalities than others. For instance:
- Minimal sans-serif font makes for a professional and corporate look
- Bold serif headers + nondescript sans-serif subheaders convey a trustworthy feel.
- Thick and rounded sans-serif fonts create a youthful and friendly feel
- Traditional serif font conveys a conservative corporate feel
- Thin sans-serif fonts can be used to make an elegant, high-end feel
4. Make Sure Your Fonts Meet These Requirements
No matter what typography you decide on for your brand, it should have some characteristics that are common to all fonts.
Your brand’s typography should be:
- Flexible: Make sure your typography works well across all mediums such as online, print, and mobile devices. Your typography will be a part of your brand identity for years, so you want it to be as flexible and able to apply smoothly to all of these platforms such as print, product packaging, web, and mobile.
- Contrasting: Multiple typefaces you use for your brand should have certain contrasts between them. Fonts should create harmony in differences. Choosing two typefaces that have one thing in common but are different in other areas is the rule of thumb a business should follow when coming up with an effective brand typeface. Establishing a hierarchy when combining two different fonts is important – we will discuss this aspect later in the article.
- Legible: Your brand fonts must be perfectly legible and readable. Any text you create using your styled fonts should be easy to understand, in large or small letters, as well as lowercase and uppercase. Header text can be somewhat less legible than the main text, but it should be clear and understandable at sight to a reader.
5. Think About Budget And Licensing
The question of sourcing and licensing your brand font is the only thing that remains following the above four steps.
Some libraries offer free and open-source fonts such as Font Library, Font Squirrel, and Google Fonts. While they are convenient, these libraries are often limited in terms of the volume of fonts they offer.
For a more professional approach to brand typography, licensing fonts can be helpful, but you need to be aware of the individual fees and licensing fees.
Also, if you wish to use different typefaces for different platforms – print materials, mobile apps, mobile websites, and such – you would need to obtain separate licenses for each.
Bold slab serif fonts
Confident and bold slab serif fonts emphasize the brand’s long and successful history.
Best Fonts For Branding: Additional Typeface Brand Guidelines
Once these key steps in identifying the right font for your brand are over and done with, some more technical guidelines remain that you should also bear in mind.
Here are additional ways you can find the right typeface and then apply it to make the most of it.
1. Choose Between Open Source, Paid, Or Custom Fonts
Paid, open source, or custom typography? It all depends on the balance of the advantages and disadvantages and our business needs.
Open source typography: Easy to find and play around with, open-source fonts are often the choice of startups and small businesses. Typography such as Google Fonts is web-friendly and consistent across all platforms and devices. Their downside is that they are often generic and lacking in character, and they don’t add much to a brand personality.
2. Narrow Down Your Font Choices
You may get overwhelmed by what’s out there in terms of typography choices, and by the time you’re done selecting those you’d like to use, you may end up with dozens of potential fonts.
Narrowing them down to one or two typefaces becomes a challenge. To overcome it, here’s what you should ask yourself.
Which font is the most distinctive? The first characteristic of a font that defines a brand personality is that it should make you stand out in the crowd.
Which one is the most flexible? The font you choose must work great across all channels, devices, and platforms and must be responsive.
Which font is the most complementary to your other brand elements? Which of the fonts would look best paired with your logo and imagery? Look for common traits of these elements and a font, such as round or sharp edges.
Which font do you think can scale up with your brand? A comprehensive font that can grow with your brand should be your best bet. Think of the characters the typeface has and does it have all you need? Also, is it available in multiple sizes and weights?
3. Establish Your Font Hierarchy
Once you have decided on your typography and fonts, it’s time to establish a system that aligns them logically in your brand book so that will be easy for other users to replicate it.
This font hierarchy should be a part of your comprehensive brand style guide that includes clear and relevant examples of use cases.
Your font treatment must be very consistent and not overly complex. The two or three typefaces you choose should comprise.
A primary font: The default typeface which communicates your brand’s identity, values, and personality.
A secondary font: A typeface that complements the primary font and supports the typographic design system.
A tertiary font: Font your brand uses for accents.
Each of these fonts has a specific purpose to serve. They also play a specific role in the hierarchy of your design system. Each typeface should fulfill roles like Title, Subtitles, Copy, CTAs, Quotes, and Product packaging.