We tend to oversimplify the power of typography in branding. Constantly looking for fonts that are trending, avoiding to invest in premium fonts, or just not holding typography in the same level of importance as all other elements in a visual identity.
The Importance of Typography in Branding
Origin and differences between a type and a font
Writing is one of our main ways of communication, in the digital era, it heavily means typography is everywhere. The word comes from the 17th century French word “typographie,” roughly translating to the science of printed character.
Where typeface is an imprinted type on a metal, that received ink and was used for creating text on printed material, fonts originally would refer to a group of blocks with a specific size and style -for example, arial 8 is one font, where arial 20 would be another.
Use Typography in branding to reinforce visual Recognition
We tend to pay close attention to brand colors, and not so much to the fonts. But making sure we choose the right font for our brand is important. Not only because we want the chosen font style to support our brand’s strategy, but because your fonts will be used to reinforce your brand presence and therefore, recognition.
I recently had a client come to me for brand identity design, and once I handed her the final files, I saw she was creating graphics for her instagram using 2 font styles that were not the ones chosen for her brand and were extremely different in style. This causes her feed to look “all over the place,” and so, not that professional. Always remember that the intention of branding is to create a certain experience and message unique to your business. Once you are sending mixed signals (with different colors, fonts, copy tone, etc), you create a mess, not a pleasant and controlled experience for your audience.
Choosing Your Brand Fonts
Consider Readability of Your Font
It is important to make sure what we write is actually easy to read. It is unwise to use Cursive and handwritten font styles on small prints and web font sizes.
For website body text, it is advisable to use a font family that is commonly used and aligns with your brand fonts. So, for example, if you use Calgary as your body font, you may consider replacing it with Georgia or another common serif font on your website.
Pairing Your Fonts
Possibly the most fun part when choosing your brand fonts will be the pairing process. It usually takes a while to get it right, as the font styles must match your own branding vibe and goals, and look good together.
Try to mix and match different styles -either completely different font families or same font family but in clearly different font weight and size.
When pairing fonts, contrast is your friend:
- Explore type contrast through different styles
- Use contrast in weight (when using a same font family)
- Contrast font sizes (when using same a font family)
Use Premium Font Families
Let me start by saying that I love free fonts as much as the next designer, but I really value premium fonts. Specially in the case of super-families, which are font families that come with an extremely rich set of variations -like Neue Einstellung, that comes with 9 font weights. A comprehensive font family means more possibilities and flexibility when building a cohesive branding design.
Typography in Logos and Identity Design
Typography in logos
Tip #1 here is: avoid overused fonts! I love Calgary, but it’s been heavily overused these days. And although logo is not a priority on a personal brand, it’s still an important element in a brand’s visual identity. The last thing we want is that our logo is like everyone else’s -this defeats one of the main purposes of designing a brand identity, which is to stand out from the competition.
I’ll talk about this on instagram live Thursday at 2PM est -follow me at @heykellybrito to be notified of my lives!
Font Hierarchy For Your Brand
One of the reasons to carefully choose your font, is the hierarchy. So, when creating your brand guide, do these:
- Set the header font
- Set the body text font
- Set the highlights font
After you choose your hierarchy, stick to it. The frequent use of certain fonts in one same way contributes to building a strong visual identity.
DIY – Logo Practice
Blackstone is one of my favorite fonts -BUT, it has been trending a lot lately, so I’ll do my best to put it aside and use it for signatures and smaller details on new identities I create. That being said, it’s a perfect font for playing around and practicing!
You are completely free to recreate and use the Blackstone House logo yourself. I’ll share tips of how you can make this logo unique to your own brand below.
Primary Font: Blackstone
Secondary Font: Avenir
Make Your Logo Unique
Avenir comes with 12 variations that you can mix and match to create your logo. And Blackstone is an effortless beauty, with its calligraphy style. Play with these fonts, exchange the positions, use Blackstone as secondary and Avenir as primary. Try Avenir’s different weights and style. The sky’s the limit!
When it comes to developing a logo you love, your first step is to spend many hours trying different combinations.
Typography in Branding – Final Thoughts
Let’s do a small re-cap of everything that was said on this post.
- Type and font are not the same thing.
- Keep readability in mind, specially on small fonts and on website body text.
- When choosing your fonts, make sure they contrast in style, weight, or size.
- Create your font hierarchy and stick to it (3 different styles is always a good amount of variations).
- Avoid fonts that are trending.
- Typography will carry meanings and moods, just like colors.
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