Determine the Best Font for Your Brand
Whether you are building your website, designing your business card, or creating promotional materials to support your business; you want to build upon a consistent message – i.e. you want everything to support your own personal brand.
When building a brand you have three major areas of creativity to control; brand mark (trademark or name), imagery and font selection. Let’s focus on the latter for this discussion.
Fonts can be broken down into 5 major categories; Serif, Sans Serif, Slab Serif, Script and Decorative. Each typeface brings with it their own underpinning characteristics, which can support (or dilute) the message you are trying to create when building your brand.
A Serif font will by definition have a small decorative line at the end of the character stroke. A classic example of a Serif font is Times New Roman or Cambria used by default when typing in Microsoft Word, for example.
Serif fonts are classic, and their use implies class, literacy and high-end messaging. They are also highly readable which makes them perfect for blocks of text in books, brochures and fine print.
The Sans in Sans Serif means “not”, as in they do not have the small decorative line at the end of each character. A classic example many will be familiar with is Arial. You may notice that you are reading a Sans Serif typeface right now.
Sans Serif fonts are modern and clean. They communicate strength and clarity. They also are chosen for easy readability with added benefits of working well in low resolution environments like websites and eReaders. Thick Sans Serif fonts represent masculinity and hard work; while thin lines appear glamorous and regal.
Slab Serif fonts use a blocky effect for the decorative line on the character. They have the appearance of a good old fashion typewriter. A good example of Slab Serif is the Rockwell typeface.
Slab Serif fonts bring an old-school, vintage, nerdy, retro feel to the text. While good for readability in logos and headers, this font can appear difficult in extended blocks of text.
Script fonts have a handwritten cursive style. A good example is the Brush Script font.
Script fonts come in a wide variety and can convey a wide range of underlining messages. High-end calligraphic styles represent formality and tradition and are therefore used a lot for wedding; while a low end grunge scribble looks more like an artsy and modern scrawl. Overall, they have a more feminine feel. Script fonts can be very difficult to read, especially in small text, so use judiciously for effects but avoid for the fine print.
Decorative fonts are those highly stylized, creative typeface which can be either powerful in communicating your message, or make you appear amateurish and comical. Decorative fonts are best when used by trained professionals who know how to walk that fine line – but when used correctly they can create a powerful brand identity.
The dreamstime logo on the top of this page is a great example of decorative fonts done right!
One important thing to consider when choosing your fonts is to choose something that will stay with you over time; you don’t want your fonts to look too dated too quickly. After all, your brand needs to represent you for the many, many years you will be in business.
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- To Serif or not to Serif? Determining the Font for Your Brand