If you are a designer who cares about typography, odds are that you regularly try to explain to somebody–whether a client or someone at a party–why anybody should care about typography. In the past decade, awareness of fonts and typography has become a bigger part of mainstream culture than it once was.  But all too often one is met with a blank look and/or confusion as to why anyone would bother about such things. Having encountered this regularly in my professional career, I thought I’d share some of the ideas of how choosing the right font can develop a great brand.

Why the right selection of typography is key for a brand?

The brand is the unique personality that identifies a product, service, person or place.  Design gives us the visual instantiation of a brand.  The selection of typefaces and the arrangement of them can be as important as the use of color, images or abstract graphics in creating a brand, and this is usually easy to explain.

How to use typography for your branding projects?

  • Be unusual – If you’re designing an identity, try to use something unique.  Stay away from the list of typefaces from the Web Safe group.  Stay away from just about anything in a phone book.
  • Take time – Spend hours, not minutes choosing or developing a typeface.  Identity design says who the company is, so put on some good time choosing something appropriate.
  • Learn the fonts – Some typefaces are built to emulate a certain period in time or place.  For example serif typefaces are considered less modern than Sans serif typefaces.  Other fonts are even more obvious and convey a definite sense of time or place.  Case in point the Wonton typeface is reminiscent of an oriental place, Broadway reminds us of the roaring twenties.  Learn about the unspoken meaning of fonts so that you don’t communicate the wrong message.
  • Invest in your typefaces – If at all possible and if you can afford it BUY typefaces from reliable vendors.  Some of these type houses have been in business before the age of computers and the quality and detail in their fonts is proven. You can sometimes get a good font from a free collection, but you get what you pay for.
  • Study the new trends – Study contemporary ads in magazines and industry publications to see how the style of typefaces is being affected by time. Like everything in life, fonts tend to have a lifespan and what seemed very adequate a while back might now be considred dated.
And finally
Remind yourself that typography really is an art and that many of the decisions you make, including type choice, are subjective.  If you’re unsure, ask others to read your work.  And seek out examples of great typography.

“Don’t underestimate its importance. The best ideas, the most beautiful imagery, the most harmonious colour combinations will be blighted by inferior typography”

 

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