Too many small-business leaders overlook the power of fonts to drive a compelling message about their company.
Graphic designers call typography the practice of using different type styles to communicate a message. Type styles are like colors and logos — they each have a unique personality that evokes a psychological response in the viewer that shapes the viewer’s emotional perception of the company.
Some fonts are thin and elegant; others are fat and blocky. Some companies establish their brand identity solely through typography — think IBM or Google. Others use fonts creatively to augment a larger brand identity; Microsoft’s ongoing deployment of its “Metro style” provides an excellent case study. There aren’t right answers about which fonts to use. Let the font’s aesthetic guide you.
But it’s easy to make careless errors with fonts. Some cutesy choices — think Comic Sans or Papyrus or Brush Script — are both ugly and ubiquituous. The psychological message they send is: We’re too lazy or stupid to give a damn.
Savvy small businesses pay attention to typography:
- They pick one or two fonts as company standards. Two-font solutions usually include one serif font and one sans-serif font that contrast well but use similar stroke weights.
- They ensure that all official marketing materials use these fonts, without mixing and matching with other fonts.
- They create visual style guides that shape brand identity, including specific color codes or rules about white space.
Take your fonts seriously, if you want your customers to take you seriously.