3 Things to avoid when you choose brand fonts


Choosing your brand fonts is one of the most important design decisions you will make for your business. The fonts you choose need to reflect your brand personality. If the brand fonts match your personality and your core values, it will help to enhance trust and awareness among your audience. If it’s not a good fit, it could actually hurt your brand.

To help you choose the right brand font for your company, I’ve put together a list of the top 3 things to avoid.

1 Avoid typefaces that don’t have a font family

Avoid typefaces that don’t have a font family example by Natsumi Nishizumi

A typeface is a family of fonts. For example, Helvetica is a typeface.  The Helvetica typeface contains various fonts: Helvetica Bold, Helvetica Oblique, Helvetica Light, etc.

When you’re selecting a typeface for your brand, you’ll want to select one that contains many fonts.  The fonts within the typeface all complement each other, making life much easier for you. If you use Helvetica for the body text of your website, you could use Helvetica Bold for your header. If you’d like to add a callout, you could use Helvetica Oblique. Using this technique adds visual contrast and keeps the site looking structured and professional.

Helvetica font family sample by Natsumi Nishizumi

What happens when you only have one font choice (single face web fonts)?

Some people prefer to use a single face font and use the bold or italics style. Some designers refer to these styles as “Faux Bold or Faux Italics”. The problem with this is that the browsers try to generate a bold or italics for you. However, it frequently reduces the quality of the text. The bold style can appear smeared and the italic style looks literally like the letters have just been slanted over. Ultimately, what the users see on their screen depends on the browser they’re using. And that’s not something you want to leave up to chance.

2 Avoid choosing similar typefaces

Avoid choosing similar typefaces-sample by Natsumi Nishizumi

When pairing fonts, the goal is to choose complementary fonts that also provide plenty of contrast. This may sound contradictory, but it works. The best way to achieve this is to first become familiar with 4 different categories of fonts: Serif, Sans Serif, Script, and Display.

Font style sample by Natsumi Nishizumi

Serif fonts have small lines at the end of the characters (sometimes referred to as “feet”). Serif fonts have a classic, elegant look and convey a slightly more serious feel. It is typically used for long pieces of text in print because it’s easier to read.

Sans Serif fonts are easier to read on the screen (It’s not as “noisy”). Sans serif fonts tend to give a more modern, clean feel to the text.

Script fonts, when used sparingly, can help to draw attention to a few keywords; however, it should never be used for long paragraphs of text. Script is harder to read and the last thing you want to do is make your reader work hard to understand your content.

Display fonts are basically any font that is not appropriate to use as body text. Display fonts are typically used as an accent (for example, as headlines, callouts, or other artistic elements). When used in small doses, these fonts can help to convey a particular mood.

Now we get to work with these 4 font categories to achieve contrast.

The most common pairing is a serif font with a sans serif font. For example, a header can be put in a serif font (such as ChronicleDisplay) and the body text can use a sans serif type font (such as Helvetica). The inverse works as well, a sans serif header matched with a serif body text.

Font pairing sample by Natsumi Nishizumi

When pairing either a script or display font, match it with an easy-to-read, simple font. For example, a script font would work well with a sans serif type font.

Script font pairing sample by Natsumi Nishizumi

Avoid pairing a script font with a display font. The 2 fonts will end up competing with each other, which will only end up confusing the reader. Pair these fonts with less decorative fonts.

3 Avoid using multiple fonts

Avoid using multiple fonts- sample by Natsumi Nishizumi

As a general rule of thumb, using more than 3 different types of fonts makes a website look cluttered and unprofessional. The different fonts will end up fighting for attention.

Instead, limit your fonts to one or two to create a simple and minimalist design for your website. Remember, you can still achieve plenty of contrast using typefaces with a family of fonts. Use different weights and sizes to make various elements stand out. 

Where to find fonts

There are several websites where you can download fonts.

Adobe Type Kit is a subscription font service. It has thousands of high-quality fonts available for download. They have several subscription plans available.

Myfonts.com has a variety of both classic and trendy fonts. The fonts on this site aren’t free, but the site allows you to easily preview your text – a very helpful feature to help you make a good decision.

FontSquirrel features thousands of high-quality, free fonts. This site also allows you to preview your text.

Typewolf has a very helpful page to help you find fonts as well as learn more about typography.

Typography may seem minor, but it can have a large impact on your brand. When used correctly, it will enhance your brand and increase the trust among members of your target market.

When you finally decide on your brand fonts, make sure they are included in your brand guide so that everyone uses the correct fonts for brand consistency.

Need help with your brand fonts? I can help give your brand a polished, clean design with carefully selected fonts, just right for your company. Contact me to get started.

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