Fonts, Your Brand, and Why You
Need to Care
A continuation of your brand.
Guest post by: Kasia Jasinowski
I’ll never forget what a friend of mine once said about the font Helvetica. “Oh, that’s what a font is? I thought that’s just what letters looked like”. As a graphic designer, you can imagine the perplexed look on my face. But then, she’s not wrong! Helvetica is used as one of the most neutral fonts out there and is a definite go-to for body copy and general everyday words. But it was a definite case in point: Type often gets overlooked as design, and as a result, a part of brand identity design as a whole.
Before I get into it, there is one thing I like to clarify, for those that don’t know the difference between a font, and a typeface. This is important!
Fonts vs. Typeface
We have fonts, but first, we have typefaces. “Typeface" is what most of us mean when we say the word “font”. Imagine the general design of a letterform, aka “the look”. Is it script, sans serif, decorative…? This is your typeface. The font part comes into play when we are selecting the width, size or variation of a typeface. Thin, bold, 10pt…. you with me?
All typefaces and fonts alike give off a certain feeling. When you boil down what each character in a font really is… it’s a design. The spine, stroke, the width, the ascender … it’s all design. A solid example is to take a lower case “a” from 2 separate typefaces. Are they different? Very probably yes. Let’s say one might give a more corporate, law office vibe, and the other, a little more casual and relaxed, something you’ll find on a bar of soap.
If you’re building out a full brand with a logo, website, business cards, package design, colour scheme, etc etc… and not thinking about what typeface you’ll be using for everything, you’re missing a huge opportunity to brand your business through and through.
It’s a continuation of your brand and can build more trust with your audience if it shows that you’ve paid attention to these details. If you’ve taken the time to discern what fonts are cohesive to your brand identity and even taken the advanced steps of customizing type, it shows a stronger and more united front for your business.
All that being said, take a look at your branding and think about what your font choices say about your business. Have they been carefully selected to represent what you’re all about, or just chosen from the dropdown as “this works”? For example: are you using a law office-ish typeface for your landscaping business because it looks “strong & trustworthy”? See, this is tricky! Don’t get me wrong, it could work and rules are meant to be broken, but you need to know the foundation first.
Let’s move it over to the flip side. Have you gone font crazy on 1001fonts.com, and are swimming in too many competing fonts across the board, because you love them all? Narrow it down to 2 typefaces, and remember good type (that isn’t free) has a ton of variety, including bold, italic, bold italic, condensed, and so on. Those are worth the money, trust me. If you’re feeling a little lost in the sea of fonts, a quick “pairing fonts tip” google search will give you a wealth of knowledge on how to pair display or decorative type with something complementary to use for the rest of your copy. Lastly, do many other businesses in your industry use this exact same typeface? How can you stand out from the rest, just with type?
The sad truth is, one of the side effects of being a designer is seeing the world through a very judgemental lens when it comes to things like looking at a menu, a billboard, or a direct mailer for saving on window installations. I see font choices before I see anything else. Many people do, not just designers, because as mentioned above, type is design, and design gives a feeling.
I promise typography is fun! Don’t shy away from exploring what fonts and pairings works best for you and your business baby, and you can rest assured you’ve thoroughly branded yourself!