Choosing a Font that Fits Your Brand Identity
The Font Debate
As the age old font debate- Serif vs. Sans Serif- rages on, new factions begin to grow from within each camp. On the Serif side the debate has become Times New Roman vs. Georgia. On the Sans Serif side designers argue over Arial and Helvetica. With so many differing opinions out there, how do I know who is right and who is wrong? The answer to that is simple: there is not right or wrong. The real question you should be asking is: how can I choose a font thats right for my brand?
A Crash Course on Fonts
For non designers out there who are wondering what a serif is or what a helvetica is let me show you some examples:
Serif refers to the small lines or additions added onto a letter, think a typewriter. As I mentioned before, Times New Roman and Georgia are two of the most widely used serif fonts. On the left is Times New Roman, on the right is Georgia. At first glance it may be hard to see differences but upon closer inspection you can pick up on slight variations. In general, Georgia tends to look more “friendly” while Times New Roman can look more official and serious. With that in mind, if you are a legal firm choosing a font, Times New Roman may be better suited for your brand whereas a family doctor’s office may want to go with the Georgia font.
Since serif refers to the extra little lines added on to a letter, you may have guessed SANS (french for “without”) serif refers to typography without the addition of these lines. Below you will see examples of the fonts Arial and Helvetica respectively. Like with the serif fonts, they two are hard to distinguish at first glance but when applied to a large amount of text the difference is much more noticeable. Arial is widely considered the more antiquated of the two with helvetica considered to be a “designer’s font.” Both can be useful for different situations. If you have a lot of content and don’t want it to be overwhelming or distracting from the other parts of your website arial is always a safe bet. Or you are looking for something with slightly more edge, Helvetica might be the font for you.
Using a Font to Overhaul Your Image
Above you will see just 4 of the most widely used fonts. They can be a safe and easy choices for your website, but to make a real impact using fonts you will need to step outside of the box a bit. As a perfect example, here at Blueprint we are in the process of redesigning our website. The key step in the process involved creating a brand new logo, and that included choosing a whole new font. Our branding goal for the new fonts was to make it clean and simple but still cutting edge. In the end we chose two sans serif fonts that we feel expressed our brand identity more than our previous ones. The top two fonts are what are currently on our site. The bottom two are the ones we have chosen to be on our new site. Even without seeing the new website you can see how this change will make a huge impact.
As a rule there are some fonts that should NEVER be allowed on your website. There are a lot of bad fonts out there but any font that is too stylized or cartoonish is going to make your site look sloppy and unprofessional. Just as examples, check out the two most hated fonts in the design community: Comic Sans and Impact.
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