When branding your company, keep in mind that first impressions are crucial to customer engagement. Many, if not most, people will get their first impressions from words written by or about your company, whether it’s a press release, a brochure, or a website. Images and video have become more prevalent with advances in Internet technology, but the written
word will always remain vital to marketing.
It is for these reasons that companies pay more attention to styling their words effectively for maximum impact. The content is important, but it must look engaging and consistent with the brand to create an interesting experience for the reader.
Font vs. Typefaces
People often use these words interchangeably, but “font” and “typeface” have different meanings. A font is the design of the characters, the style that you would choose on your word processing program. A typeface refers to an overall style, or stylistic elements of fonts that have something in common. For example, Times New Roman and Georgia are individual fonts, but both are a serif typeface. When styling written content, it is important to establish which typefaces you feel communicate your company’s style, to make it easier to match fonts for richer content.
A typical mistake inexperienced brands make is using a font too much in the name of consistency, or pairing high-contrast styles in an effort to be more interesting. It is advisable to choose two, but no more than three, fonts for all written content and to ensure they complement rather than contrast one another. Using different fonts for headers, paragraphs, and slogans helps break up blocks of text, draws the reader’s eye, and allows greater freedom of brand expression.
Fonts from similar typefaces do not tend to pair well, as they are too similar. Look for opposites: for example, a sans-serif header paired with sans-serif paragraphs. Bloggers often use an engaging script font for post titles and a formal serif or sans-serif font for paragraphs. Very modern slim fonts pair well with chunky classical type, and handwriting-style fonts paired with text are easier to read.
Check that your fonts give the right impression. Many fonts focus on readability, and, as a result, go unnoticed by your reader. For headers and slogans, the more unusual the font the more visual meaning it carries. Does a handwriting font express the professionalism of your law firm? Is a somber serif paired with copperplate typefaces the best way to market an indie start-up? Be very careful to choose fonts that fit your brand. Comic Sans has come under fire for being overused in an effort to be “fun” while still readable. It should not be used anywhere in a professional publication.
Ensure you use your fonts consistently. Do not use some for flyers and others for your website, as this will look inconsistent and confuse readers who want to know more about your business. You may want to format your outgoing emails, change your letterhead and internal memos also.
There are hundreds of free fonts available on the Internet, as well as hundreds of branding businesses to advise on choosing a typeface and formatting text. Services like Typekit and Google Web Fonts make it easy to use fonts on websites without downloading files, keeping loading speeds to a minimum.
The safest route toward a strong brand is to employ a professional graphic artist who will style your copy to specifications, and advise on other areas of branding your business. Unreadable or unattractive text hinders customer engagement, yet is often the first aspect of branding that’s neglected. Choose fonts and typefaces wisely, and your company brand will benefit from the attention to detail.