Nowadays, when graphic design is an inseparable part of digital marketing, it is becoming more crucial for marketers to better understand what’s going on “behind the scenes” of design. You might be surprised, but typography is one of the most essential elements of design.
A major problem I tend to encounter is that marketers often make design decisions that are based on their gut feeling and not on actual knowledge.
By understanding the impression different fonts can make, you can express yourself better while bringing your brand message into the spotlight.
One of the very first things you need to consider when designing an ad or a campaign is how you want people to perceive your brand.
Fonts come in many different shapes and styles. Categorizing them can be challenging as there are many factors to take into consideration: their looks, the era they appeared in, and their usage. For the sake of simplicity, we will refer to four major style categories.
1. Serif Fonts
Serif fonts are fonts that have an extending feature that looks like an anchor, and is called “serif”.
Serif fonts convey class, elegance, sophistication, high-end, heritage, seriousness, and romance. This classic typography is great if you want your brand to appear trustworthy, traditional, and just a little old school.
Jewelry and Fashion brands tend to use Serif fonts for their designs. Some examples for brands that use Serif fonts as their logotype are: Vogue, Dior, Rolex, Timberland, Zara, and Maserati cars.
2. Sans-Serif Fonts
Sans-serif fonts are fonts that do not have the extending features called “serifs” at the end of strokes. Sans-serif fonts tend to have less stroke width variation than serif fonts. They are often used to convey simplicity, clarity, and minimalism.
This modern typography is great if you want your brand to appear innovative, and demonstrate a straightforward attitude. Using this kind of fonts is definitely playing-safe, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
BMW, American Airlines, LG, Microsoft, Jeep, The North Face, and many more use the Sans-Serif font, Helvetica, as their logotype.
3. Script Fonts
Script fonts are based on the varied and fluid strokes created by handwriting. They are often used for wedding invitations or comic book lettering and are intended for use in informal documents and children’s materials. Script fonts can be childish, playful, goofy, and unprofessional, but sometimes they can convey creativity and a more personal message.
Using this kind of fonts can be a great way to add a playful or feminine feel to your brand.
Brands that use Script fonts as their logotype are Disney, Barbie, Coca-Cola, Kleenex, Instagram, I❤ NY, and Ford.
4. Display Fonts
A display font is a font that is intended for use at large sizes for headlines, rather than for passages of body text. Display fonts will often have more eccentric and variable designs than the simple and restrained fonts we just went through. Using Display fonts can really bring out the brand’s personality, without having to say much.
Want to make a bold statement and create a brand identity people won’t soon forget? A display font is a great way to do it.
Display fonts are usually very informative, quirky, creative, and loud. Brands that use Display fonts as logotypes are IBM, Harry Potter, ToysRus, McDonald’s, Lego, The New York Times, and Fanta.
So, are the fonts you’re currently using convey the message you want to tell the world?
Think about what you want to put out there and remember that the message you wish to convey should be consistent with your brand’s identity and campaigns!
Oftentimes your brand’s appearance will be the first point of contact with your audience, prior to the actual content. If you want to be known for your brand’s credibility and integrity, use sans-serif fonts and calm colors. If you want to emphasize your brand’s trendy and youthful persona, use an unconventional font with bright colors.
These guidelines are of course very general; Sometimes the core of your brand is not so plain and might be a bit more complex. With that being said, every rule has an exception, and in order to know how to break the guidelines, you need to know how to use them beforehand.