Typography and fonts are one of the most potentially creative, and often one of the most misused, elements of branding. Fonts can play a huge part in how your business is personified online, and can add that extra flair to support your logo and color scheme while bringing your brand persona into focus. Like taglines, the creative use of typography and fonts can elevate your branding and attract more potential customers, boosting sales and setting your business apart from your competitors.

Understanding The Difference Between Typography And Fonts

Typography and fonts are two different components of the same element of branding, and it is important to understand the definition of each term: Typography is the technique of arranging type to make written language more legible and pleasing, while typefaces and fonts refer to the specific design features of a set of characters, including letters, numbers and symbols. Just as an artist would use paints to compose a painting, a designer uses typefaces and fonts to create a visual product with typography.

Font Families

“Typeface” and “font” are often interchangeable terms in casual conversation, although technically they do not mean the same thing. Typefaces, also known as font families, include every related set of fonts in a particular font “family,” which usually includes a regular, bold, italic, heavy and light version of the same font. A particular brand or creative work, such as a logo or a website, may only use a single font or may use different fonts belonging to the same typeface.

Choosing The Right Typeface and Fonts

As with each of the other prominent branding elements, your typeface and font choices must blend harmoniously with the other elements you’ve chosen to incorporate in your brand, presenting a cohesive and accurate representation of your business to the world. What sets typefaces and fonts apart from other universal branding elements such as colors and taglines is that typefaces and fonts themselves are creative works that may have intellectual property restrictions attached to their usage – as long as you are not violating any trademark rights, you are generally free to use any set of colors you choose, and the same applies to the use of non-trademarked words in a tagline. However, fonts and typefaces can have copyright restrictions on their personal or commercial use, so it is important to ensure that you are legally free to use the typeface and font you choose in your logo, website, and printed materials.

Your Font’s Personality

When choosing a typeface or font, consider what the choice says about the personality of your business. Many typefaces are commonly used by many businesses across a various industries because they are exceptionally readable, emotionally pleasant or neutral and universally incorporated into a variety of different branding elements. Choosing a more unique and obscure font that can be potentially difficult to read is often either a stroke of creative genius or a branding disaster – most businesses that choose to use a more unique font are interested in radically differentiating themselves within an industry, and may be purposefully eschewing neutrality and readability in order to create a more unique, and therefore memorable, logo and brand.

Make Your Documents Legible

It is important to remember that typography includes more than just a single typeface or logo – it involves arranging types to make a visual work legible and pleasing. No matter how radical and/or illegible the typeface you choose to use in a logo or headline, it is imperative that you use a neutral and readable font for the majority of text included in creative works, such as restaurant menus, website copy, business cards, brochures, banners and other materials. No matter what type of unique personality you want to convey with a logo or headline, your clients, customers and patrons will quickly grow frustrated with important copy that is illegible or difficult to read.