Back in the day, to create typography you would have had to carry around a heavy box full of metal type for a single font, individual letters and punctuation all to create one document. Then you would have to manually put the blocks in order before you could start thinking about printing.
Thankfully the progress of technology has made the process of using type a lot easier. Gone are the large boxes of clunking metal to be replaced with a laptop and an endless supply of fonts available at our fingertips. Though typography is no longer as physically exhausting as it once was, the wide variety of fonts now available to us can make choosing the right font for the job just as difficult as back in the day, even if there were a lot fewer fonts to choose from.
There are lots of things to consider when picking a font for your business logo/brand/identity. The font you choose to represent your business needs to represent your message and your values. A font is not just a font. Picking the right font for your identity could be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful company.
For example, Times New Roman is considered a formal font, it was used in the Times Newspaper as its serifs guide the eye across the page. It’s useful on other professional documents however it’s not a font you’d expect to see on a birthday party invitation or on a poster advertising the latest charity bake sale.
Similarly, Comic Sans is a font that can’t really be taken seriously, its curvy edges are very similar to that of a child's handwriting which is why it’s perfect for kids birthday parties and school posters. However, it shouldn’t be used on important and professional documents such as a Doctor’s note or Divorce settlement papers because it’s hard to take the message seriously.
Here we have a logo for a company called ‘The Detail Doctor.’
Would you use this company? If not, why not? This logo is incredibly simple - too simple considering the name. The logo gives nothing away but that it’s a business that has something to do with a car. The font is ‘Papyrus’ which is an unusual choice, usually, it’s found on out of place restaurant menus. This logo doesn’t give the impression of quality or detail, it barely looks like a logo at all which could impact the way a potential customer views the brand and the quality of their product.
As a general rule of thumb, if the logo doesn’t imply confidence and professionalism, they can get overlooked. It’s all about making a good first impression in those first 90 seconds, and as nearly every logo uses a font, it’s incredibly important to be right.
Every day I walk past a garage that has a Microsoft Word ‘Word Art’ logo. I kid you not. Their logo hasn’t been changed since the Word Art days and they are a fantastic business, my family have used them for years. Their work is great and everyone recommends their business, but it is this word of mouth that brings the customers in and their reputation, not the logo.
Brand identity wasn’t as important as it was then so if you’re lucky enough to have a reputation to advertise your business, that's great but that wouldn’t work any more. Personally, if I happened across this business, not knowing anything about them, I wouldn’t even consider using them, purely because of the state of their logo.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks like this, or maybe I am, but if the company can’t create an effective and professional logo to advertise themselves, would the same lack of care, lack of knowledge come across in their actions, their product or service?
These are the types of questions that can be raised when the font you’ve selected for your brand identity doesn’t match your company values; it creates a sense of doubt.
Here is the FedEx logo.
This logo was designed in 1994 and is still used to this day. It is a clean, professional and bold identity that continues to stand out. The typography and colour exude confidence, making it instantly a brand you can trust. My favourite element of this logo is the arrow hidden in its design. Can you see it?
It’s located between the ‘E’ and the ‘x.’ I hadn’t noticed the arrow until someone pointed it out to me. It is such a subtle detail, one that many might never notice, but one that only enhances the logo upon its discovery. This logo exudes confidence and that's down to a perfect font choice with bold colours and a hidden message that reiterates their goals.
Font’s generate a tone and a message that can really influence the way the audience interacts with a brand or creative so that’s why it’s extremely important to pick a typeface that reflects your message from the beginning.