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November 24, 2017

Font Basics for Branding Your Small Business | Part Two


Each type of font has certain characteristics that translate into that font’s personality. A font might be serious or light-hearted, traditional or modern, legible or decorative, or any number of other personality traits. The traits of the font that you use in your marketing materials and business communications should reflect and enhance your company’s brand.

Your company should have designated fonts to use in the following situations:

1. A LOGO FONT: Which is typically not one of the fonts that come installed on Windows machines: it should be more unique and interesting. Some logos will have two or three different fonts in them. If this is the case, then consider using one of those fonts as the secondary font as well.

2. A SECONDARY FONT: Used for headlines, sub-headlines, taglines, special text such as graphics and captions, and decorative text such as pull quotes, which are the large quotes that are used decoratively in articles and documents. This can be the same font as is used in your logo. This is typically an interesting and unique font as well. This may also be used as the font for your contact information in your stationery, depending on its legibility.

3. A TERTIARY FONT: Is optional and may be used when the secondary font is not always legible, for mid-length texts such as pull quotes and contact information.

4. A SERIF TEXT FONT: Is mainly used for lengthy printed documents. Printed materials are more easily read if they are in serif font rather than sans-serif font.

5. A SANS-SERIF FONT: Is used for shorter printed documents and on-screen use. Text on a computer monitor is easier to read in a sans-serif font than in a serif font.

6. A WEBSITE FONT: Which may be the same font as is used as the main sans-serif text font, depending on how that font translates for online viewing.

All of these fonts should have similar or contrasting characteristics. Choosing fonts with similar characteristics will make your fonts match and create consistency throughout your documents. Choosing fonts with contrasting characteristics will build visual texture and interest into your materials. For example, you could pick all thin, sans-serif fonts such as Arial and Frutiger to create a harmonious, matching suite of fonts. Or you could pick fonts with contrasting characteristics to create greater interest, such as using a serif font like Palatino for the headlines and then using a sans-serif font like Verdana for the text.

Each piece of marketing material or document created should have a maximum of three or four families of fonts on them. (A font family includes all of the bold and italic variations of a particular font, so using bold or italic effects does not count as additional fonts.) Using more than three or four fonts is confusing, and it looks unprofessional.