Type is a crucial building block in creating and maintaining a brand, and by designing it logically and thoughtfully you are able to customize exactly how the world hears what you have to say. Not only does your choice of type determine if people are able to read your content or not, but it has a great impact on the way people view your brand.
Choose a Typeface With The Right Personality
Every typeface has a personality, traits, and ideas associated with it, and it’s important to make sure that your brand’s personality interacts well with the typeface’s personality. So, let’s discuss:
Serifs are traditional and professional in appearance, and great for print purposes as they’re incredibly easy to read on page.
Sans serifs are modern and clean in appearance which is probably why they dominate web and digital design. If you’ve got a youthful, modern brand, a serif may be the way to go.
Script typefaces are undoubtedly elegant and sophisticated and can bring a lot of class and charm to any design.
Handwritten typefaces are informal, casual and can feel a lot more personal. A well-used handwritten typeface can bring out the unique and fun edge of your brand.
Display typefaces are not nearly as stock and standard as the previous. ‘Display typeface’ is an umbrella term that refers to all those more ornate typefaces that are best used for titles and headings.
After looking through these categories of type, which one speaks to you and your brand? Choose a style or two, have a hunt through some online type sites, play with some typefaces, and explore your options.
Make Sure Your Typefaces Complement Each Other
Simply finding three typefaces and throwing them together in a design isn’t always going to yield the best results, because just like colors, fonts can clash. So, here’s some tips and sample palettes to help you master the art of type combination.
Contrast different type weights. Pair a bolder, heavier typeface with finer ones to up the contrast of your type palette and create a striking effect.
Pair a bold display type with minimal serifs. Balance out your more flashy display typefaces with some more downplayed sans serifs.
Mix serif and sans serif. Serif and sans serif typefaces are two font families that always work well, so consider using one of each in your type palette.
Keep the family together. If you find a beautiful typeface with a large family of styles, use that family to your advantage and build your palette with that.
Establish a Typographic Hierarchy System
Typographical hierarchy is the process of designing your type in a way that signals importance. Think of a newspaper front page: Your eyes are most commonly drawn first toward the title because it is the largest, boldest piece of type on the page. This is typographical hierarchy at work.
When you are devising your own type palettes, you should keep hierarchy in mind as it is integral to creating strong designs. Let’s look at a quick example of how you can define your own hierarchy:
Also note: because of this hierarchical system, when choosing fonts, try to only select 2 or 3. Any more and you risk your designs looking over complicated and messy, any less and you make make it harder for yourself to establish this typographical hierarchy properly.
Test Your Type
Let’s put your type to the test by applying it to three different scenarios. Think of three different times when you may use your type combination and draft up a few quick templates.
For example, using the type palette devised in the previous example, here are three type-heavy social media posts that each use the type palette differently:
This exercise should be fairly quick, it doesn’t have to make sense or be postable, it’s just a test for you to check that your type palette functions smoothly in real world scenarios.
If you encounter any hiccups or strong desires to change one of your typefaces during this exercise, consider revisiting your type choices.
Keep Legibility in the Forefront
When it comes to type, how it looks is important, but how it reads is paramount. Your main priority in devising a font palette should always be legibility and readability.
Your choice of typeface has a lot to do with the legibility of your type, particularly when it comes to body copy. However, there are also a lot of other things that can impair readability/legibility. Let’s look at a few:
Here we have a low legibility example, and a high legibility example. The low legibility example to the left uses a typeface not suited at all for body copy, it uses overly tight line heights and letter spacing, and is overall too heavy, cramped and difficult to read.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine if your type is legible:
- Is my type easy to read?
- Is the contrast between my type and background high enough?
- When my eyes skim over the passage do they easily pick up on keywords?
- Have I chosen an appropriate body copy typeface?
- Are my line heights too tight or loose? Would adjusting them increase or decrease the legibility?
- Is my letter spacing too tight or loose? Would adjusting it increase or decrease the legibility?
Keep It Consistent
The final step in typography is consistency, and the best way that we do this is through brand guidelines. By breaking down specific parts of a brand’s design and specifying how it should be executed, it will be easier for you to maintain strong and consistent visuals.
Take a few minutes to create your own brand guidelines for your type palette, just as we’ve done below:
Check out our complimentary editable guide to establishing your brand’s type palette to get a head start on your typography today.
- Build yourself a type palette that will perfectly complement your brand
- Create a simple set of guidelines on how to use each typeface