A brand identity is an impression, and we all know that we only have a few seconds to make a good one.
This identity is a visual shortcut to the value and connection you offer your clients. Here at A Lined Design we like to say that design gets you the phone number, and copy gets you the second date.
The role of fonts in brand design
Some of the building blocks a brand needs are colours, logos, fonts, design, voice, messaging and tone. When these elements work well together, you get a cohesive brand that conveys your message well and connects with your intended audience.
As you can imagine, when the (elements) don’t work well together, you’ll leave customers at best, unsure if they want to work with you and at the worst, clicking away to one of your competitors.
Now that’s a lot of decisions for a business to make, and it can be intimidating. This is why our clients trust us to guide them through the process.
But what if you can’t hire a professional? We are here to help. This article goes in-depth to help you as a client of DIYer understand fonts, font pairing, font design, and how it all works to help you convey the brand story you want to tell.
What is a font though?
If you look in the dictionary, the definition of a font is “a set of type of one particular face and size.” Cool. So it’s the form of the letters and glyphs which make up the words we read (spoiler alert, even the dictionary has a specific font).
Considering all brands ask us to do some reading, even if it’s just in their logos, you can see why font choice is critical.
Think of it this way…
Nature documentaries are often narrated by Morgan Freeman or David Attenborough. Their voices have authority, strength, and a sense of calm.
Fonts have that same power. They carry time and past and history with them. All fonts have their own story to tell, and they will help you share yours.
And this is why they are so meaningful and so specific.
Investigate why your font was made in the first place
This will give you clues about the font’s personality. Designers have inspiration and purpose. Fonts are always developed for a particular purpose and to convey human characteristics.
For example, our heading font is called Jazmin. It’s pretty damn cute.
Latinotype, the font foundry who made Jazmin, have this lil bluby about her:
Jazmín is inspired by “Globe Gothic” design yet features different proportions, curves, serif shapes and contrast, which give it a classy, playful and a more contemporary look. The family comes in two versions: an elegant font of 8 weights-ranging from Thin to Black-with matching italics, and an alternate, more playful counterpart with the same number of weights and italics. The whole Jazmín set contains 566 characters which support over 200 Latin-based languages. Jazmín is ideal for magazines, short text, logos, branding design, packaging and advertising.
And what does that mean for the brand on the street? Let’s look a little deeper. “Globe Gothic” also has a purpose and history
This series of faces was designed initially by Morris Fuller Benton, circa 1900. The design is a refinement of Taylor Gothic from 1897. It features a sans serif thick and thin design with angular stems. Pre-dating art deco, this design feels quaint, yet it still has a touch of modernism. Frederic Goudy designed a bold version of Globe Gothic in 1905 for ATF. The Bold and Bold Italic digital versions have been added to the LTC library in early 2007.
Alrighty then, now we are getting somewhere! Quaint but modern. Playful, classy and contemporary.
This is precisely what we wanted as our business vibe. Great choice, me (wink, it was intentional)!
Okay, story is one thing. But what does the font actually look like?
Okay, story is one thing. But what does the font actually look like and how is it constructed?
There are a few parts to a font. Up parts, down parts, round parts. Remind you of learning to trace the alphabet in school? When we’re talking about font design – how these parts work together to create a picture with words – we need to break it down even more.
The font’s x-height
This one is a biggie. When choosing fonts for readability – so body fonts on a website, for example – you need to have a bigger x-height for the simple reason that there is more font to read.
Descender and ascender
When choosing fonts for the web, I try to avoid really extravagant descender and ascenders. They ill run over the lines and get all wrapped around each other. Compact fonts are best.
If we’re just talking print design, there is more leeway. We can slot in the ups and downs between each other and make a cohesive picture. Without that control, though, it’s gonna get messy. You also need to take care that you don’t have a bunch of white space hanging around and not adding anything to the overall design.
Serif and sans serif
Most other blog posts you’ll read about choosing a font for your brand would have started with this old chestnut. Serifs are the little ends on your letters. Sans serif, well… it’s sans (without) the serifs. Serifs are part of the font’s story and character. Typically, serif fonts are more formal, and sans are less formal. Serif typefaces have historically been used to increase both the readability and reading speed of long passages of text because they help the eye travel across a line, especially if lines are long or have relatively open word spacing (as with some justified type). See? There is some Science involved too!
Serifs though can confuse children who are learning to read and those who the Latin alphabet is not their first alphabet.
How do you choose a script or handwritten font for your brand?
This is so gonna be another post, stay tuned for that.
Knowing that each font has a journey and a purpose, the first thing to do is find why the artist was inspired to draw as they did. Was it for a wedding invitation? A chalkboard in a café? Or a strong hand at the bottom of a legal letter?
You can see how those purposes could really influence the vibe of the writing? OH YEAH.
Let’s look at a few examples.
Now, imagine a person writing each of these. Can you imagine a burly bloke writing in Amberlight? Or A lawyer? Probably not – it was developed to be modern and sweet. It’s also really feminine. Perfect for a wedding photographer or cake maker, perhaps.
Now let’s look at Superfly. Look at that brushstroke – kinda fast-moving, isn’t it? This person was in a rush, writing notes in a flourish. I can imagine someone feminine or masculine writing in this script. We’ve used this font for Walk on kunanyi to bring in the feeling of making field notes in a classy way. That lowercase r is in cursive, a very subtle way to bring in class.
In the middle, there is Signature Collection. You might have noticed it around our site. We chose this because it is monoline like our artwork – a single width of the line the whole way along. It’s got a feminine vibe, and so do we. It was designed to be chilled – like us!
So what can you tell about our brand from the font’s we’ve chosen? Feminine, chilled, a bit quaint but modern, playful, classy, and contemporary.
That’s a lot to pack into a design.
And that’s how significant fonts are! Hit me up with any and all font-related questions in the comments.
Love this post? Share it on Pinterest for us, will you?