By Maya Itani
Fonts have been a hot topic of discussion at I&Co. headquarters these last few weeks, as we are working on the visual brand identity of two new brands. A critical part of brand identity is font selection for both the brand’s logo and its future marketing material. While some fonts look great in sample text, they often prove less functional when used in the day to day work on marketing a brand. It is a marketer’s job to foresee how fonts are to be used in the future and anticipate any issues that may arise.
Here are some common mistakes to avoid when selecting the fonts you will use in your logo or in your brand guidelines.
- Using a font that is beautiful but not functional
The most common mistake is the use of beautiful but illegible fonts. While a wispy scrawl may seem elegant at first, it loses its attraction quickly when your customer have to squint from a distance to read it on a signboard. If people are wondering if that is an R or an S in your brand name, you’ve definitely picked a font that was only suitable for sample text or on screen.
One of the main things to look out for is font that is too thin to be visible when enlarged for large format uses like outdoor hoardings, signboards, and banners. Thin fonts are loved by designers for their modernity and simplicity, but they can prove to be a problem. If you love your font but think it may be too thin, discuss possible solutions with your brand designer. This may include creating adjusted logos for different applications.
- Choosing a font you like, but doesn’t reflect your brand
Many entrepreneurs apply their personal taste when selecting elements of their brand’s visual identity. While it is essential that the business owner is happy with the look and feel of the brand, it is important to remember that a brand is a separate entity and should reflect its own personality. The font that is chosen to represent the brand should be one that matches the tonality that has been established, and does not just appeal to the business owner. Fun, hand-drawn fonts may appeal to you personally, but they may not suit your brand if it leans more towards professionalism and seriousness.
- Mixing too many fonts
This is one of my personal pet peeves, and we see it all too often on marketing material. When it comes to marketing material, a brand should have a defined font for headers and a defined font for body text. A third accent font may be used, but even that is not needed by most brands.
Similarly, brand logos that employ more than two fonts often look chaotic. While it may be hard to make a choice when it comes to font usage, limiting your logo to two fonts will create a cleaner and more memorable look and feel.
- Using a font that is not allowed for commercial use
The internet is full of gorgeous fonts from designers all over the world. Many of these fonts are free for personal use but require a payment for commercial use. Some do not allow commercial use at all. When presented with fonts by a designer, hop on the internet and read the fine print about the font’s cost and usage. That 30 minutes is a great investment of time to make before setting your heart on a font that you will cost you an arm and a let of will not be usable at all for commercial purposes.
Take your time when picking a font and make sure you test it in multiple formats with various amounts of font. Have others read it and see if can understand the font and agree that it matches the brand’s personality. Remember that the most important function for font is communication, so if it doesn’t communicate your brand feeling and if it isn’t legible then it’s not the right choice.