Day 11 - Type that Speaks Volumes



Welcome to Day #11 of the 31 Days to Better Branding series! To learn more about this series, click here and find links to the other days so you'll be able to follow along or catch up if you happen to miss anything. I am by no means an expert but after hearing a lot of the same questions, I figured others could benefit from a few lessons in branding. Hopefully it will give you a place to begin or even just a few tips to improve your business and bring you more clients. Feel free to add in your thoughts and what has worked for you in the comments!

 Choosing type is one of my favorite steps in branding because it can make such a big difference in the final result. This is an area where it definitely helps to have a designer's eye because it takes a lot of trial and error to find a good fit. I'm not going to give you a lesson in type anatomy, but I will share a few of my "Dos and Don'ts" that might help you in the process. 

// Do look at published materials for ideas. Magazines, catalogs and book covers are good inspiration because they are usually created by professionals or at least had to go through a few different people for approval.

// Don't look at your competitors. It's easy to see something working for someone else and get stuck on that idea. Always look outside your own field so that you don't recreate something that's already been done.

// Do use contrast. If all of your headings and subheadings look the same, you aren't adding any interest for your viewers. Changing up the sizing and font weight can help with the flow and make things look more organized.

// Don't go too crazy. Keep it simple and choose fonts that complement each other. If you're not sure, ask a friend or designer if they feel like your fonts go well together.

// Do keep your brand in mind. Remember the message you are trying to convey and ask yourself if your target market would gravitate toward each font. If not, get rid of it.

// Don't be afraid to try a lot of different options. Like I said earlier, it takes a lot of trial and error to find what works best with your wording. So spend a few days trying things out. Experiment with spacing between letters and lines to find good balance.

When choosing fonts, I shoot for 3-5 fonts that work well together. I try to create a nice hierarchy of headings, subheadings and body copy. For example, I use a more fancy font for my logo and some of my larger headings. Then I have a more basic san serif font that is good for subheadings, navigation and simple titles. Adding a font for body copy makes three. And then I have a few other key fonts that I add in from time to time when I want to switch things up.

The danger of using a lot of fonts is that they can start to compete with each other instead of uniting my work. So when I choose fonts, I try to keep in mind a set theme so that I don't stray too far from my goal. I love the fonts I find in Elle Magazine as well as Madewell and J.Crew catalogs. So if I find a font that I like but couldn't picture in any of those magazines, I don't use it in my branding. In fact, there's one font on my homepage that is really bothering me because I know it doesn't go with the theme of all the others. Can you pick out which one it is? :)

There are lot of good resources out there for choosing type. These are good places to start...

Free fonts -Font Squirrel | Dafont

Paid fonts -YouWorkForThem | FontSpring | House Industries

Type lessons -How To Choose a Typeface | On Choosing Type - First Principles

Font combinations -Beginner's Guide To Pairing Fonts | I Font You | Collect + Share Type Combos

Homework: Evaluate your own type and see if you can improve it in anyway. Do you need to replace a font to better fit your brand? If you haven't chosen type yet, check out the above resources and spend 30 minutes today trying out some ideas!