Typography and Your Business
Will a font actually help your brand succeed? Imagine if you were to change all of your online and print materials to use comic sans or papyrus fonts, you would quickly find that an inappropriate font can rip your precious brand to shreds. So how do you choose an appropriate typeface for your brand?
What is the purpose of your font?
The primary purpose of a font is always to convey information. Whether you are using it as a headline on a flyer or as body text on your website, text conveys information. As such, a font needs to be easily readable. If you think about the font that is used on road signs, it needs to be large and bold enough to see from a long distance or at a glance. It’s not particularly pretty, but it’s functional. While it is unlikely that your business is selling road sings, there’s something to learn here. The first criteria for any content font you use is that it is easily readable, whether in tangible print or on a screen.
The readability of your page can keep a customer from clicking away
Readability is Key
With any medium, but screen in particular, reader attention is a valuable commodity. As Matthew Butterick’s “Practical Typeography” touts, this is one of the key factors font can enhance. The readability of your blog or your homepage can be the difference between a customer clicking through to more content or clicking away. If the font you choose is difficult to read and keeps the reader engaged in the mechanics of reading, it distracts from the content you are presenting. As attractive as that curly script is, you would generally be better served by using something more easily read.
…picking the appropriate font lends a coherence to your brand and your message.
How should it feel?
Now, readability is a great baseline, but there are many readable fonts out there. Honestly, even comic sans isn’t terribly unreadable. How do you choose between the hundreds of potentially suitable fonts available? This is where feel comes in. Knowing your target demographic, would they respond best to a classic serif font? A modern sans serif? Do you want a font that communicates professionalism and class? Or freedom and modernity? That is something only you can decide, but the font that you choose conveys a particular mood.
Look at these three fonts: Comic Sans, Times New Roman, Verdana. How do these make you feel? Would you buy a car if the dealer’s sign was in Comic Sans? Times New Roman? Verdana? Knowing the feel you are going for and picking the appropriate font lends a coherence to your brand and your message.
A font can enhance the definition of your brand
To pay or not to pay
Is it worth paying hundreds of dollars to have access to professional fonts? Well, the answer is ultimately up to you, but if it is in your budget, it would be a good investment. A font can enhance the definition of your brand. As much as PT Sans may be serviceable, professionally developed fonts can serve to add an extra weight to the feel you are going for with your brand. In addition to buying a licence outright, there are also font subscription services such as typekit or fonts.com that offer professional fonts for use online. These are billed monthly, but may be more palatable than dropping multiple hundred dollars at once.
In all, a good font can help with engaging your customers with your blog, website, and brand. If your text is not readable, your readers will quickly lose interest. If you choose a font that undercuts the message of your brand, you run the risk of sending mixed tones to your clients. Keeping all this in mind, the next time you are updating your site or printing some promotional material, spend a bit more time choosing the right font.
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