When it comes to picking fonts for your brand, do you feel totally overwhelmed at all the choices out there? You and me both! Fonts are probably one of the most underrated ways to add some personality to your brand, but it can also be easy to overdo it or select the wrong ones. It might seem silly to say there is even such a thing as a “wrong” or “right” font – What the heck am I talking about right?
Simply put, picking the wrong fonts for your brand can cause you to create the wrong impression – one that doesn’t match your messaging and target audience. Whereas the right choice of fonts can help add polish to your business and give strength to your marketing messages. Similarly to how colors and different styles of imagery work, different fonts have their own meanings and abilities to evoke certain feelings and sentiments. So where do you start?
Related Post: Crash Course on Typography for Your Business
Decide on Paid vs Free Font Options
If you’re at the point where you are ready to start choosing fonts for your brand, you’ll need to be sure you are looking in the right places. Some of my favorite websites for finding good quality fonts are:
- Google Fonts (free)
- FontSquirrel (free)
- My Fonts (some free)
- Typekit (paid)
- Creative Market (paid)
- Lost Type Co. (some free)
While it can be tempting to gravitate towards the free options, don’t totally rule out spending a bit of money. Most fonts can be purchased for less than $50, often times less than $20, especially if you are only choosing one style or weight. There are plenty of great fonts out there that are free, but sometimes the perfect one comes with a premium. Weigh your options and do your research before making any decisions.
If you end up having to pay for a font, but it’s the perfect fit for your brand, then consider it a great investment for your business! With paid fonts you can also usually score some extra glyphs or characters that can add even more style to your brand.
During your font search you may also encounter some other font websites such as dafont.com or 1001freefonts.com. Do your best to avoid these sites! Many of the fonts available from sites like these haven’t been vetted for quality or consistency. It’s easy for anyone to upload their own font without giving much care to how it was created. Be warned: you may discover missing characters and numbers, poor spacing, strict licensing or incompatibility with your computer.
Related Post: Visualizing Your Brand – What Does a Brand Look Like
Do’s and Don’t’s for Using Fonts
When it comes time to start putting the fonts for your brand together, you may feel like you need a little guidance. Here are some basic rules to get you started using fonts in your designs and brand materials:
- Decide on 2 or 3 fonts that you want to use. If you are looking for some variety try to use the same font in different weights and styles (ie. light, bold, italic etc.) Too many fonts can make your designs and brand feel busy and disconnected.
- Do your research. Look at different brands you admire and note what kinds of fonts they use and how they pair different fonts together. Get inspiration first and then narrow down your options.
- Stay consistent. Once you’ve settled on some fonts to use for your brand, stay consistent and continue to use them. This will help you start to establish a visual tone for your brand and help you become recognizable in your market.
- Consider readability first using hierarchy, contrast and tone. Headlines and titles should naturally have the most emphasis and can also be a great opportunity for your brand personality to shine. When it comes to using fonts for your brand as body text, they should always be clean and easy to read.
- Go low-key if you are feeling unsure. If you simply don’t know which fonts portray the right personality of your brand or are feeling overwhelmed by all the options, it’s better to lean on the safe side and go for a more simple or subtle option. Some great font choices that never go out of style: Helvetica, Gotham, Futura, Open Sans, Garamond, Lato, Aller, Lora and PT Serif
- Don’t just pick a font because it is your favorite. Think about the style of the font and what meaning it gives off. Is this the message you want to send to your audience?
- Don’t steal fonts. If a font says it has a personal license only, you should not use this for your business – it is considered stealing! If there is a commercial license available, you will need to purchase the font to use it.
- Don’t overuse scripts, calligraphic or handwritten fonts. Consider these special fonts only for use on accents or on a few words instead of a whole headline or paragraph.
- Don’t pair fonts that are too similar with only slight differences. This can make your designs feel awkward, like something isn’t quite right.
- Don’t use trendy, overused or controversial fonts. Some examples of fonts to avoid include: Comic Sans, Lobster, Papyrus, Trajan, Copperplate, Impact, Brush Script, Hobo and Curlz MT. These are major offenders that often come by default with most computers, but should be avoided at all costs!
Need more help with your brand than just knowing what fonts to pick? My 7 Days to Brand Clarity Course might be just what you are looking for! Get advice, tips and exercises covering everything from your mission to your logo. Click here for all the details!
Still need help picking the right fonts for your brand or have a question about fonts? I’d love to help! Shoot me a message in the comments below!
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Kristin Pruis • February 1, 2018