There’s an enormous jet black billboard that I always pass on my way home from Kentucky to Atlanta. This billboard, in all white, bold CAPS, always screams some contentious, political message at unsuspecting drivers on I-75. In addition to being pretty much impossible to miss, this billboard tells a story. Even if we ignore the billboard’s message, the color and type choices still tell us that the message is serious, urgent, and important. To sum it up, it makes us pay attention.
Regardless of the message, the type you choose for your brand tells a story and evokes a certain feeling for the viewer. For example, my mother used to send me emails in bright purple in the playful Comic Sans font. While her intention may have been to send a serious or thoughtful email, her type and color choices always made me laugh.
Choosing strong typography for your brand is key to attracting ideal clients and broadcasting your message and can serve your business in numerous ways. From the newsletters you send weekly to the homepage of your website, typography tells your audience what to believe about your brand and guides them in the decision of whether or not to work with you. There are thousands of font choices out there, but using good typography in your brand design doesn’t have to be difficult if you stick to this process:
- Define the keywords you want to convey. Is your brand professional and elegant? Look towards a serif font like Libre Baskerville. Is it modern and minimal? Then maybe a sans serif font like Futura. Choosing 3-5 keywords for your brand’s mood can get you thinking of the right font choices for your brand.
- Choose no more than 3 fonts and stick to them. Your brand should have primary, secondary, and tertiary font choices. Primary fonts can be bold and big as they’ll usually represent the headlines. Secondary fonts will complement your primary font as a subheading. Tertiary fonts will be your body copy, paragraphs, or any other accents.
- Play around with pairing, contrast, and hierarchy. The relationship between any two fonts is what brings the most fluidity and uniqueness to your brand. The rule of thumb is to pair a sans serif font with a serif font. But it’s also important to select fonts of contrasting weights and sizes. The best way to do this is to choose typefaces with similar characteristics–for example, a lowercase g can look different depending on the font.
- Make sure your font is legible in different sizes. While script fonts may be pretty, they’re often harder to read when shrunk down or viewed on the web. Will your fonts be read easily at four inches and forty inches?
- Simplify your colors. My billboard example from above? That billboard is only two colors–black and white. It’s simple for the brain to process at a glance. When selecting colors for your type, you don’t have to overcomplicate it with several colors. Simple text on a simple background is classic.
What is the story you want your typography to tell?