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May, 2015

BREAKING BRANDS: Typography

Arguably the most unassuming component of a brand – we all know what colours we prefer, the type of imagery that appeals and particular tones which resonate, but typefaces? It’s at best an afterthought and more often than not, a non-entity for the layperson.

What’s your type?

You may find yourself thinking: tall, dark, handsome, muscles from Brussels, or GSOH (Good Sense of Humour), but let’s leave any discussion of the male specimen to another day and focus instead on typefaces – a key element that constitutes a brand.

Branding between the lines

Typography (not to be confused with topography – no planetary science involved here) is the art and technique of arranging type. In essence, it is the vehicle for communicating messages and should work hand-in-hand with tone of voice to give the written word a personality.

So why should you care about typefaces and typography?

Previously the undisputed and exclusive remit of the designer, awareness of fonts, typefaces and typography has become a bigger part of the mainstream culture today. Typography has the valuable quality of addressing aesthetics and function simultaneously. Good typography is not just something that is pleasing to the eye, it makes your marketing materials stand out and look professional. It’s important because the way the written word looks has an impact on how we’re presenting ourselves to the world of clients and potential clients. The savvy marketers amongst us recognise that whilst extensive knowledge isn’t crucial (and frankly best left to the professionals), a basic grasp of what it is and what it can do for your brand pays dividends.

Brand typography

Your brand identity is an extension of your personality – who you are and what you represent. The selection of typefaces and arrangement of them should be given the same consideration as the use of colour, images or abstract graphics. Used effectively, it can help differentiate or evoke a particular feeling. It has the power to influence, consciously or subconsciously. Not unlike fashion, evolving styles and trends come into play.

Typography in marketing collateral

But it doesn’t stop at your brand identity. Due attention should be paid to typography and the use of fonts and typefaces across all your marketing collateral, both off- and online.

Ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • Do you, your team and colleagues know your brand fonts?
  • Does everyone in your company have easy access to these?
  • Do you have a chosen typeface for online and word/PPT usage?
  • Do your brand guidelines include comprehensive information on your typefaces?

There are exceptions but in general, a heavyweight font is bold and strong; a lightweight font, elegant and soft. Small details like upper and lower case letters play into messaging. Uppercase can create a more streamlined look; lowercase is more casual and friendly. Using title case for headlines will convey a more serious tone while sentence case is more approachable and casual.

Keep in mind that it’s not just about creating an impression. Like all other elements of branding, brand consistency is key. From your signage to business cards, brochures to vehicle wraps, a consistent typeface breeds familiarity.

Marketing campaigns

In marketing campaigns, typography can be used independently, or together with vector illustrations or photography to deliver your messages.

Whilst the need to have a consistent typeface is paramount, it’s equally important to have the flexibility to inject complementary, impactful typefaces to really make your campaigns sing. You may have noticed that hand crafted lettering is all the rage at the moment. Distinctive, often bespoke and visually appealing, it’s enjoying a huge uptake across different industries.

Interested in how we can help your business? If you have a project you would like to discuss with us, we would love to hear from you. Give us a call on 0117 966 9189 or drop us a line at hello@workbrands.co.uk.