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How to choose the right font for your marketing

When you look at a newspaper like The Sunday Times, you know that the articles will have a certain tone, conveying a level of authority and gravitas. Turn to The Sun, and you’re not surprised that the focus is more on celebrity scandals or sensationalist headlines.

Both have developed their particular reputations over the years, but it’s not just about what we have come to expect. Their appearance also plays a big part in how we perceive each publication – the size, colour and style of typeface all affect how we see something.

With that in mind, think about your own business. What message does someone get when they look at your logo? Do your adverts promote feelings of trust and quality, or do they make you sound cheap and cheerful?

Choosing which fonts you use for your brand and your marketing is an important decision. The typefaces you decide on need to convey your ethos and your character, as well as your message.

It’s worth remembering that your graphic design team can offer valuable advice on this topic. As creative professionals, they have a wealth of experience when it comes to helping businesses get their message across and know what works in different markets.

Of course, you’ll have your own ideas about what you want and how the finished design might look, but our quick guide to the basic styles of fonts that are available, how they come across and the psychological messages they send out might help you make a decision.

Serif

These fonts have little decorative lines or strokes added to them. They suggest tradition, respectability and a business that is well-established. People often feel they can trust a brand that uses serifs.

Examples:              Baskerville Old Face     Georgia           Times New Roman

Sans serif

These are very popular as they are clean, clear and easy to read. They look straightforward and convey an air of authority and honesty; if you look at the BBC News website, still regarded as one of the most trustworthy news sources in the world, you can see how this works.

Examples:              Arial                 Calibri                     Franklin Gothic Book

Modern

If you want your business to be seen as forward-looking and dependable, a more modern font might be what you need. Many fashion companies and luxury brands use typefaces from this family as they also suggest sophistication.

Examples:              Bodoni MT     Century Gothic        Onyx

Scripts

It’s easy to fall in love with a font that looks like beautiful handwriting, and they suggest elegance, femininity and creativity. A word of warning, though – if they’re used small, such as on a business card, be sure the information is still readable.

Examples:              French Script MT          Monotype Corsiva      Script MT Bold

Novelty or comic

These can look a bit different so are often popular, but they should be used carefully and sparingly. Many are unsuitable for large amounts of text as they are hard to read, while some may also be considered childish.

Examples:              Comic Sans MS         Impact                     Showcard gothic

While this is an overview and far from an exhaustive list, it will give you an insight into some of the basic font styles you can consider when developing your brand and marketing materials. Once you have an idea of what suits your message, your graphic designer will be able to show you many different options and help you refine your choices.

And don’t despair – if you can’t find exactly what you want there’s always the option of having a custom font designed for you, as brands such as Disney and Coca-Cola have done. It won’t be cheap but it will certainly make you unique and give you more freedom when it comes to design and brand identity.

The important point to remember is that the fonts you choose will send a subliminal message to your potential customers. Experiment with a few different styles, and test them on your friends, family and contacts;  this will help you clarify what’s right for you and your business.

 

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