Choose the right font for your brand

You know it is important to choose the right font or typography for your brand. The choice of font (or typeface) is as important as the logo and the colour scheme in establishing the right image for your business, proposal or document.

There are some people who see the interest in fonts as all too unnecessary. Why would you need to waste effort to choose the right font? Fortunately they are probably the same people who turn up to interviews in safari suits and nylon ties. It is not so much what you look like but how you choose to portray yourself that is important. If you want to appear relaxed, dress casually. If you want to look powerful wear a tailored suit and a conservative tie. Choice of font is the same.

Classic fonts for conservative businesses

Classic fonts create a sense of strong personality. They imply reliability and trustworthiness, the best example being Times New Roman, developed in England at The Times newspaper. If your business needs a strong professional image you need to use strong fonts. If you use fun or creative fonts it will make you look frivolous.

Helvetica, a Swiss font that recently had its 50th birthday, is a modernist font worshipped by some and hated by others (I like it but my graphic designer hates it). The reason it is so well liked is because it projects an air of safety, reliability and stability. The list of large, corporate brands that use Helvetica is long. It includes: Gap, Orange, Hoover, Lufthansa, Panasonic, Royal Bank of Scotland, Tupperware, and Zanussi.

The reasons why Helvetica is hated are almost the same reasons it is liked:  it can be seen as bland, conforming and unadventurous because of its corporate ubiquity. You might not choose the right font for all people if you choose Helvetica!

Modern fonts for dynamic businesses

Some organisation’s font choices are more adventurous, distinctive and can become immediately recognizable. The BBC uses Gill Sans which is slightly quirky but still reliable; New Johnston is the choice of London Underground, Dunkin Donuts uses the Frankfurter font. Sabon is the font originally used by Penguin Books and also now by Stanford University.

Don’t use comic fonts, ever

Fun fonts should be used with great caution by businesses. Comic Sans is so hated by some that there have been attempts to have it banned. Now, on one hand, I do see this response as over the top and a needless waste of effort but, on the other hand, I do really think the world would be a better place if people wouldn’t use it for business communications (birthday cards are OK). Choose the right font don’t choose Comic Sans!