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What message does your company’s font send out to customers?

Setting colour aside, do you know what your font says about your company? Fonts can have a gender bias, an age slant and tone of voice.

A font can have tone of voice, I hear you say?  Definitely. There are big shouty salesy fonts, clean clear professional fonts and friendly approachable fonts – here are just a few examples of fonts that are similar to well known brand logos – can you recognise them?

Loud fonts that sell products:

futura bold

itc officina sans

Clean clear professional fonts:

clarendon

cambridge round

Friendly, approachable fonts:

spencerian script

gotham rounded

Fonts for body copy

For corporate branding you not only need a font for your logo but you need a compatible heading & body font to carry through all of your marketing materials (and ideally every document that is generated by the company) to keep branding consistent.

Here the choice can be restricted by the output; for the website you can use a web-safe font or you will need a web font service like Google Fonts or Typekit to render the fonts correctly across visitor’s browsers.

For print purposes, it can be better to choose a font that is designed specifically for print, like Times New Roman or Garamond, Verdana and Helvetica (the latter, incidentally, look great onscreen too though any designer will groan inwardly when you recommend them).

Serif or sans-serif? The choice is yours

From a branding standpoint, the choice between a serif and sans-serif font can be straightforward but there is another consideration; legibility. On which font type is more legible onscreen, the research sits on the fence. It could be down to personal preference.

Legibility research is inconclusive as to whether serif fonts are truly better than sans serif.” – Nielsen Norman Group

Ideal font size

A more important choice in my opinion is what size fonts you are going to use. I am a big fan of clear type – although I have the best eyesight of any of my family members, I am fully aware of how difficult it can be for them to read text onscreen or off.

Regular print is 10-12 points in text documents, according to RNIB, but I have seen designers go right down to 8 or even 6 points for small print – and I’ve watched many a customer squint to read it!

One of my favourite copywriting gurus is D Bnonn Tennant and he suggests a minimum 16 pixels for online body copy.

I know what you’re thinking. “Did he just say 16 pixels? For body copy? Obnoxiously big! 12 pixels is ideal for most websites.” I’d like to persuade you otherwise…..” – D Bnonn Tennant

Of course, there are other considerations when writing, particularly online, like line spacing, paragraphs and headings, but my gut feeling is ‘why make it difficult for your customers to read your text?!’ What kind of message does that send to your customer?