Font choices matter, and there’s a reason why designers spend so long deciding on the right font for their clients. Do you know how you can tell a lot about a person by looking at them? Before you’ve even spoken to them or actually learned any facts about their interests or their past, you can collect so much information. You can see their clothing choices, hair cut, facial expression, age, or posture and already form an idea about some elements of their personality.
Fonts are kind of like that. It’s like you’re meeting a new brand and you don’t know what they’re all about yet and you haven’t even read what they have to say. Yet you can still gain an understanding of their personality based on the visual elements of the brand. A font is a big part of this. Fonts may inform your thoughts about brands and you may not even realize it!
Let’s jump into a few of the main font families and talk about what makes them different and the feelings and emotions that each font style brings about.
A serif is a small stroke attached to the end of a larger stroke of a letter. A very popular serif example is Times New Roman.
Serif fonts represent tradition and are seen as respectable and reliable. They are often also used for more sophisticated or formal brands. Their personality can range from stable and timeless to luxurious, high fashion glamour.
Basically, this is just the fonts without the serifs! Helvetica and Arial are sans serif fonts that everyone has used on their computer at one point or another.
Sans serif fonts are modern, clean, and universal. They take away all the frills and decorations and keep things simple. Sans serifs can be seen as neutral and sensible, but when used differently can also give a stylish and chic vibe.
Overall, scripts are elegant, formal, sophisticated, and feminine. They pair well with sans serif or serif fonts, though trying to mix all three together is generally seen to be a bad idea. Try to stick with one or two font families at a time.
This is a version of a serif font, but rather than the classic thick-to-thin serif, these fonts use a serif that is a uniform thickness. Slab serifs are seen as bold, trendy, friendly, and contemporary. They are attention-grabbing and impactful. Check out Josefin or Museo as examples of popular slab serifs.
When we get into the world of decorative fonts, we are talking about a huge selection of personalities. These could be flowery, grunge, rustic, vintage, abstract… I could go on. Basically this is a group of fonts that is so far-reaching that it just needs a general title to fit everything in. Decorative fonts, while fun, can easily become too much. They are seen as high-spirited, quirky, eccentric and unique. Use sparingly!
Before ending this blog post, I want to end it by saying that while you want your font choices to match your brand, you don’t want them to be so unique and outlandish that it distracts from the message of your brand as a whole.
This statement sums it up pretty well: don’t try to be original, just try to be good.