In a recent blog post, I explained that choosing the right font is about knowing how to dress for the occasion. A fancy calligraphy font, for example, may be perfect for a North American wedding invitation, but chose that same script for an annual report and you’ll lose your readers by the second word.
But there’s more to simply understanding a product and your audience when choosing amongst the 60,000 or more fonts in the world; you also need to understand what the brand wants to say, as a typeface should accurately reflect and represent that brand positioning
The question is though; can a poor font choice hurt a brand? The answer to that isn’t black or white. Certain typeface choices may be out-dated, yes, but that doesn’t make them wrong as long as there’s a rhyme and reason behind the choice and they effectively convey the message. Where font choice can hurt a brand lies in when a choice doesn’t appear to have a reason behind it.
As well, although it’s perfectly fine to select multiple typefaces to reflect a brand, mixing them in a willy-nilly fashion simply gives off a cluttered and unfocused appearance. Done poorly, this can reflect badly on your brand and your business, leaving customers (and potential customers) to question your sanity.
The easiest solution is to keep it simple. A simple choice maintains the integrity of your brand voice while conveying your message as cleanly as possible.
Two newer fonts that reflect that simple choice are Calibri and Neue Haas Unica. You may have heard of Calibri as in recent years it has become the Microsoft Word default font. Its default status is based on its even strokes that work in print and in digital media. And, most importantly it carries itself well in all forms of digital media, including on smartphones.
The other good font of choice, Neue Haas Unica, is based on two classic fonts – Helvetica and Universe. However, this newer font is warmer and cleaner than its predecessors. Its creators have taken the best attributes of its parent fonts but flushed them out to produce a clean sans-serif font. It works well in print and on screen. And, to top it off, it can support multiple languages – meaning that brands that need to translate their material can do so without changing the integrity of their design.
These are not the only two simple font choices, just two examples. It’s important to understand that simple doesn’t mean plain and boring, it means clean; and in today’s digital world, that’s how to best represent your brand’s voice.