More than almost any other design element, fonts convey both emotion and meaning and their first impression can either pack a big punch or leave your ideal audience uninterested. There is much more to choosing a font for a brand than choosing something “pretty”. Strategy and consideration of your industry’s niche come in to play when choosing a main font and a complimentary font for a brand.
The font a word is written in gives it personality. I like to think of it as the outfit a word is wearing. When a word is outfitted in a font that helps convey its meaning as a visual, it all of a sudden has such deeper context that can really carry a brand or a hurt a brand, depending on the font used. Below I’ll quickly describe the ways different fonts convey different meanings and how you can best choose a font for your website copy, tagine, or even your logo.
Nevis Bold & Times New Roman | Catamaran Regular & Monalisa Regular |
Didot Bold & August Script Regular | Audrey Medium & Montserrat Extra Light | Big Caslon Medium & Gill Sans Light | Roboto Medium & Karla Extra Light
After reading this post, you’ll walk away with a basic knowledge of typography that you can use for your own brand as well as a few of my favorite font pairings using fonts you can download and use for free. Whether you find yourself just starting out and in a place you can’t afford to invest in a brand designer or you’re a designer yourself looking for a few additional free font pairing options, this post is for you.
Understanding Font Types
There are two distinct font types to consider, serif and sans serif. A serif font is a font that has a small foot or stroke on the ends of each letter. Serif fonts are of the most classic type of fonts, dating back to ancient Rome. Times New Roman, for example, is a serif font. In design, they’re typically used to convey elegance or maturity and give a classic look to a design. They’re considered a more conservative typeface and work well in both headers and copy as well as logos, depending on the brand.
Opposite of a serif, a sans serif is a typeface without the small strokes or feet… hence sans serif. Sans serif fonts may also be called “grotesque” as they were thought to be crass or flashy compared to traditional serif fonts when they were first introduced in the 20’s and 30’s. They are thought to be more modern and playful and work well for brands that are in the tech space or other more modern niches. When a client of mine fills out their questionnaire using words such as “modern”, “sleek”, or “simplistic” my mind typically thinks sans serif. They are great as copy font or complimentary copy (such as a tagline) as well.
Script fonts are cursive or handwritten type fonts. They are playful and may work well in a brand design, but are typically not well suited for logos or other important copy as they can be more difficult to read. They may work well as accents across a website or collateral like stationary, etc.
The above three are definitely the most well known and commonly used fonts in design. However, there are countless other font types; decorative fonts that are less commonly used in design and typically will fall under one of the two categories of sans serif or serif.
Typography is such an important aspect of brand design and its definitely my favorite aspect of brand design!