The Derwent Project aims to secure the future of Keswick for the next generation. Filmed on location in the Lake District, this...
Choosing a font for your brand
People love to criticise. It’s a fact. From the new England footie kit (yikes!) to Sunday’s slightly overcooked roast, nothing escapes judgement. As creatives, we can’t help but critique anything and everything, and it seems that when it comes to design, 99% of the time it’s the choice and application of type that grabs our attention. Typography is such an important feature of design and easily makes or breaks a visual aesthetic, so it's vital to choose an appropriate font for your brand.
Why be selective?
Choosing a font is a bit like getting dressed. You’re not going to wear your PJ’s to a job interview – it’s totally inappropriate and would say the wrong thing about you. Similarly, each font is formed of its own distinct style and character, suitable for use in certain situations.
– Choosing the right font
When it comes to choosing a font, our first stop is to understand the qualities and characteristics that need to be communicated; we think about the target audience and the message. This starts to guide the process, and we’ll then decide if a particular font matches this blueprint. The below example shows how a font choice can communicate an inappropriate message.
Aside from having the right design characteristics, the letterforms must be legible and text easily readable; we always consider the situation in which the font will be used. As the example below shows, the Display font on the left doesn't work well for a long paragraph of text, whereas the Old-Style Serif on the right does.
We also take into account how many different weights are contained within a font-set. A font containing light, regular, bold and accompanying italics etc, offers a lot more flexibility than a font with only regular and italic versions.
– Sourcing fonts
We certainly don't restrict ourselves to fonts that are pre-installed with Microsoft Office (eeek!) or Adobe Creative Cloud; we have an extensive font library and use a number of sources for choosing fresh fonts. We often use MyFonts, or for clients on tighter budgets, we're not afraid to look at Google Fonts or Font Squirrel, which offer an excellent selection of high-quality free fonts.
Wherever we get them from, we always check the font license before using it. Sometimes a free font may only be licensed for personal use, or a purchased font may have a limit on the number of times it can appear on the web or in print.
There have been huge advances in the availability of fonts for use on the web, so in many respects, the days of being limited solely to web-safe fonts (pre-installed on most versions of Windows, Mac, Linux etc) are gone.
However, there are definitely some instances where it may be better to use a standard font. For example, when sharing word documents, any non web-safe fonts will most likely be replaced with a standard Word font, unless the recipient of your document has installed your font too. So your beautiful document can suddenly look terrible! This is why we will always recommend a web-safe font as a secondary typeface when creating brand guidelines for clients.
If you are concerned that your typography might not be saying the right things about your brand, we'd love to take a look for you.
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