Font Basics for Branding Your Small Business
There are many components of a brand identity: logo, color palette, font choice, and
the Visual Vocabulary. There’s a lot of information available about the use of logos,
colors, and Visual Vocabulary, but not much on the effective use of fonts. So, here’s
some information on the creative, practical, and technical aspects of fonts. Nickname Generator
A font is a set of all the letters in the alphabet, designed with similar characteristics.
This is also known as a typeface.
Fonts are usually designed to include several style variations. This can include styles
like light, regular, bold, semibold, ultra bold, and italic. Some fonts also include
“Expert” versions, which are fonts that include fractions and mathematical symbols.
Font families are typically packages of fonts that include all of the different versions
of a font. Using fonts with large families will give you a wide range of fonts to use in
your materials, for variety and emphasis.
There are many basic classifications of fonts. Four of the most common classes of
o Serif fonts, which have little “feet,” called serifs, at the ends of the lines that make
up the letters. Some examples of serif fonts include Times, Palatino, and Garamond.
These fonts are more traditional, elegant, and old-fashioned.
o Sans-serif fonts don’t have those feet. “Sans serif” means “without serifs.” Arial,
Verdana, Tahoma, and Helvetica are some of the most common sans-serif fonts.
These fonts are more clean and modern.
o Script fonts are calligraphic or cursive fonts. Brush Script and Nuptial Script are
two common script fonts.
o Display fonts are decorative and often used for logos or headlines.
There are other types of fonts as well, including handwriting fonts and all-caps
fonts. However, the four listed above are the most common and useful in business
Creative font usage guidelines
Each type of font has certain characteristics that translate into that font’s
personality. A font might be serious or light-hearted, traditional or modern, legible
or decorative, or any number of other personality traits. The traits of the font that
you use in your marketing materials and business communications should reflect
and enhance your company’s brand.
Your company should have designated fonts to use in the following situations:
o A logo font, which is typically not one of the fonts that come installed on Windows
machines: it should be more unique and interesting. Some logos will have two or
three different fonts in them. If this is the case, then consider using one of those
fonts as the secondary font as well.
o A secondary font, used for headlines, sub-headlines, taglines, special text such as
graphics and captions, and decorative text such as pull quotes, which are the large
quotes that are used decoratively in articles and documents. This can be the same
font as is used in your logo. This is typically an interesting and unique font as well.
This may also be used as the font for your contact information in your stationery,
depending on its legibility.
o A tertiary font is optional and may be used when the secondary font is not always
legible, for mid-length texts such as pull quotes and contact information.
o A serif text font, for lengthy printed documents. Printed materials are more easily
read if they are in serif font rather than sans-serif font.