August 22, 2014 // Micah Piccirilli

The Art and Science of Typography: Branding to the Letter

One tremendously important design element that is all too often overlooked in creating and building a brand is typography. Typography is the art and science of arranging font by using color, design integration, size, spacing and line length to enhance the expression of the written word.

Typography goes way beyond the font you choose for your logo. Typography extends to every form of communication involving words that you use to reach out to your customer. With that said, here are four aspects of typography to consider, which are essential to successful branding.

1. Establishes visual identity. A brand is the unique way to identify a company, product, service (even a person or place). In building brand, the selection and arrangement of typefaces can be just as important as the use of color, shape and imagery. When combined with other design elements, typography helps to cultivate a strong identity that your clients can easily recognize. It adds a uniqueness to your brand that only you can establish and fully own.

2. Expresses a personality. Each font has visual properties that suggest an individual feeling. Choosing a serif font can suggest a degree of traditionalism, seriousness or reliability. A simple sans serif font can feel relaxed and modern. Likewise, choosing a script font can convey elegance or creativity, while a bold font can suggest authority or power. Though it may be subtle and subjective, the mood that a font conveys is important to consider when establishing or building your brand. Typographic style helps express your “tone of voice” and evoke an emotional response from your customer.

3. Helps with hierarchy. After choosing the font or fonts that will solidify your brand in the minds of your clients, your designer will consider how the words written in the font of your choice will be arranged in an advertisement or on a webpage. This typographic hierarchy is yet another way of reinforcing your brand and influencing your customer. What do you want to stand out as the most important part of your message? What should sit in the back, providing useful but less important information? Good typography can direct your customer to priority content to increase the impact of your communications.

4. Allows for readability. In order to communicate your message effectively, your words must be readable. Skillfully manipulating fonts, letter spacing and line spacing, coupled with integrating the written word with all other design elements on the page, can either facilitate or undermine your communications. Be careful to not choose typographical elements that are difficult or annoying to read. If your brand includes a dynamic font, make sure to use it selectively, such as in the header or sub headers. A good rule of thumb is to keep the body of your text in a typeface that is very easy to read.

Overall, typography goes much further than putting fancy letters together to look “pretty.” It speaks directly to the customer about your company, product or service, and its brand attributes. To use typography effectively in your branding, it’s all about knowing who you are, then catering to that aesthetically and conscientiously maintaining it.

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