Why Fonts Are Just As Important As Logos
Whether you’re a major corporation or just starting out, the font you use is an important part of your branding.
When branding is done correctly, fonts are consistent throughout your social media, website, and all physical marketing goods.
Take a second to consider the slogan “Just Do It.” You immediately know what brand that slogan belongs to - and no, I’m not talking about the incredibly inspirational video by Shia Labeouf.
I’m speaking of Nike, the most recognized fitness brand in the world!
And when you think of Nike, you immediately imagine their iconic swoosh logo, but what you might not have known is that their choice of typography is also unique.
In fact, it’s their own custom-designed font.
SEEM LIKE BRANDING OVERKILL?
Nike's decision to do this made them stand out, and it still does today. Whether you’re walking, driving, flying, or even scrolling through your timeline, when you come across a Nike advertisement, you know the branding.
Here are a couple of examples from one of their latest campaigns, "Find Your Greatness."
Font Vs Typeface
So how does one choose the right font? Well, before doing so, we must cover the difference between font and typeface.
The easiest way to understand the difference is by thinking of a Typeface as a font family, and a Font as an individual styling within a font family.
As a visual learner myself, I created a graphic to break this down easily.
Another way of thinking about this is through everyone’s most beloved food - PIZZA!
Pizza is a category of food (like a typeface) and there are many different types of pizzas (like there are fonts). There's thick or thin crust, sauce or no sauce, meat lovers or veggie, the combinations are endless!
BUT IN THE END IT'S STILL ALWAYS PIZZA.
So now we can address how to choose a font that will work best for your brand.
Consider two things:
What you love in a font, and
The type of message you are communicating.
Knowing this will make sure the font you choose will live up to your brand image and message.
Here is a great example of how a font can change your perception of a message.
The top example utilizes a font that invokes a romantic and positive feeling. It’s cursive is lighthearted and even includes a heart at the end, perfectly shaped and filled in. Whoever wrote that was thoughtful and took their time.
Whereas the font used below makes you think you’re in a horror film. Thick, broken, and drooping, it inspires fear. It even ends in a random blotted stamp which leaves your mind to wander in its mystery...
A font not only defines the feeling of your message, but it can also make or break the credibility of your brand.
“To put it simply, typography matters because it helps keep the reader’s attention on your content. Good typography allows them to focus on the message instead of focusing on the mechanics of reading.”
— Ankit Oberoi
Errol Morris, of the New York Times, conducted an experiment of how fonts affect credibility.
If you had to choose, which one of the statements above do you believe?
Did you choose the one on left? Most people do. Both statements are actually false, but why do people find the font on the left more believable?
Well, the left statement is in the Baskerville font and the right is in Comic Sans. These fonts have different characteristics, and Morris said that...
“the conscious awareness of Comic Sans promotes contempt and summary dismissal.”
It’s funny to think that a font can affect our belief in something, but whether we like it or not, it really does matter. If you were reading a major scientific, legal, or government publication and it were in Comic Sans - would you believe it?
I know I wouldn't! I'd be wondering if a 3rd grader was in charge of that communication. And any trace of skepticism does not bode well for a company trying to communicate facts.
Morris also went on to explain why people considered Baskerville more believable:
“The word that comes to my mind is gravitas. There are some fonts that are informal — Comic Sans, obviously — and other fonts that are a little bit more tuxedo.”
Ultimately the typeface you choose - its weight, spacing, and even its height - can have a huge effect on the message you want to communicate. Take just as much time picking your font as you do your logo. Both are crucial elements of your brand image, and if one is lacking, it could be detrimental.
THE REDFORK FONT
At RedFork, we use the Avenir Next typeface, it’s what you're reading now.
We’ve coded it throughout our entire website. It’s used in all our social media graphics. It’s used in titles for our vlog series on YouTube. We even use it in our email newsletters... basically, we use it as much as possible.
WHY DID WE CHOOSE AVENIR NEXT?
Dave, our founder, chose it because he felt the font was very interesting to the eye due to its weight and simplicity, making it easily legible. Also, it’s unique but not so much that it distracts the reader.
Just like Nike, Dave wanted our font to be a brand identifier with the goal of people associating this font with RedFork.
Even though Nike is a much larger brand than RedFork (at least for now 😜), they also had humble beginnings. And part of their beginning was choosing the right font that would last for decades to come.
We hope you found this helpful in choosing your font.