One of the most important aspects of creating a successful brand is typography selection. Brand fonts have just as much of a psychological impact as color, illustrations, and other brand elements.
The fonts you choose for your brand will be used throughout all of your branding, website, marketing, and promotional material. It’s an important decision that will alter the entire feel and audience you ultimately attract. Before you make a selection, consider your ideal client and the basics of typography.
The 4 Primary Font Classifications & Their Characteristics
Serif fonts are probably the most well-known and recognizable typeface, think the ever-standard Times New Roman. The main attributes are the serifs themselves, or feet at the ends of the letterforms. Serif fonts usually include a varied line weight as well. And in some serif fonts, there are decorative elements, such as terminal teardrops.
Because of their timeless use, serif fonts are an excellent choice for classic, refined, and upscale brands, such as Prada, Tiffany & Co., and Vogue.
Slab serif fonts are pretty self-explanatory. Instead of having classic serifs at the end of the letterforms, they feature slab serifs. These slabs can be block-like, angular, or rounded, such as American Typewriter. Most slab serif fonts have a somewhat uniform line weight, but can be varied in some cases.
Because slab serif fonts mimic the timeless qualities of a standard serif font with a modern twist, they are a great selection for contemporary and bold brands, such as Honda, Sony, and Volvo.
Sans serif fonts are exactly what they sound like, serif fonts sans (without) the serif. Typically sans serif fonts feature a uniform line weight, but can sometimes be varied.
Because of their clean look, they are perfect for modern, minimal, and simple brands, such as Apple, Facebook, and Target.
Script fonts have a large variety of different styles, such as monoline, calligraphic, brush, etc. While the styles vary, the hallmarks of a script font are dynamic, fluid strokes and swashes that mimic handwriting. But beware, script fonts can sometimes be difficult to read, so they should be reserved for accent fonts, not body copy or headings.
Because of their handwritten look, script fonts lend themselves to more feminine, soft, and creative brands, such as Cartier, Betty Crocker, and Instagram.
Font Styles & Weights
You’ll often find that most fonts include several different styling options. Common weights include light and bold, in addition to the regular font weight. Some fonts also include an italic styling option and can be styled in upper or lowercase versions.
Each weight and style has an impact on the overall look and feel of your brand and the font itself.
Light or thin fonts appear as a lightened stroke of the regular font and give a cleaner and airy look.
Regular fonts imply the native styling of any given font.
Bold fonts appear as a thickened stroke of the regular font and give a more striking and distinct look.
Italic fonts are a slanted version of the regular font, and can also include light and bold versions in itself. They are great for adding emphasis to a particular word, phrase, or quote, and add a softer and elegant feel.
Lowercase font styling gives your brand a younger, friendlier look.
Uppercase font styling gives your brand a pronounced, timeless look.
Best Practices for Brand Fonts Pairings
The most successful way to pair your brand fonts is to consider contrast. Every font pairing needs an appropriate amount of contrast to feel visually interesting and balanced.
Brand Fonts Pairing Hierarchy
When you start implementing your font pairings, think about visual hierarchy. What word do you want them to read first? What word do you want them to read next and so on? Bolder, darker, and bigger fonts tend to be read first, while thinner, lighter, and smaller fonts will be read later.
Brand Fonts Pairing Usage
While making your font pairing selections, consider the following places in which they’ll appear:
Now that you know the basics of typography, you’re on your way to making the best font selection to start your brand on the right foot, or serif if you will! And if you need somewhere to start, my top font sourcing sites are Creative Market, Google Fonts (FREE FONTS), and Adobe Fonts (formerly Typekit).