What’s your type?

When it comes to creating a visual presence for your business there are many factors that you need to consider. Part of creating your visual identity includes the typefaces you choose in your literature.

Fonts have character – they express personality and can be used to reinforce your brand ideals and values. They work in harmony with your logo, your image style and supporting graphics to form part of the whole look of your visual identity so time should be taken to carefully consider which typefaces best speak the language of your brand.

So, if you’re just starting out or are in the early stages of rebranding, here are some tips for you to consider:

But first, a bit of type terminology!

Font

The design style of a collection of characters that can include upper and lower case variations, numbers, punctuation and symbols.

Typeface

A collection of fonts in the same type family ie: Bold, Italic, Medium, Semi-bold, Light etc.

Serif

Fonts with tapered flourishes at the ends of strokes within the letters – ie: Times New Roman, Garamond

Sans-Serif

Fonts without flourishes – ie: Arial, Helvetica, Swiss

Slab-Serif

Fonts with flourishes that end in blocks rather than tapering – ie: Museo Slab

Script

Ornate fonts where often the letters link together adding a natural flow to the wording, ideal for headers – ie: Great Vibes, Yellowtail

It's all about choice

Stick to just a handful of fonts to add a level of consistency to the materials you will create for your brand.

With 2 or 3 fonts you have enough choice to create interest in your marketing and we would suggest that the fonts you choose have varying styles to add contrast to your marketing materials.

Museo Typeface Various

You can do this by choosing a “super” typeface family as your starting point – there are lots of typefaces that have multiple font styles (cuts) within them. You can select two fonts from the same font family such as a bold and italic typeface which will always work well together. Super typefaces often include both Serif and Sans-Serif versions of the fonts giving an even wider degree of flexibility. A good example of a well used super typeface is Museo. Super modern, clean lines, with both serif and sans-serif versions makes for a dynamic visual when laid out on the page.

Alternatively you can choose contrasting typefaces that are different but still complement each other. This might mean pairing a serif font with a sans serif font for example. A rule of thumb would be if you choose a very decorative font use it larger and more sparingly and pair it with something more subdued to deliver the majority of the information to your reader. To see these, as well as other contrasting typeface examples in action, check out Google font combinations here.

FontPair Graphic

Once you have selected the type you would like you need to then look at establishing order between your chosen typefaces.

Guide your reader by creating hierarchy in the type within your marketing materials. You can do this by altering size and font weights and positioning on the page to guide the natural flow of how the information is processed. A large heading, mid sized sub-heading and small body copy it a typical way of ordering type and again, a rule of thumb would be that sub-headings are usually approximately double the size of body copy, and headings approximately double the size of sub-headings. Of course this is not always the case but this is a great place to start. Also it’s worth noting that headings and subtitles do not have to sit in order, which is why size and scale can be utilised to differentiate them.

Shorter lines of text are easier to read so also consider splitting your layout into columns. We’ll cover layout another time but for type, columns are a brilliant way to contain your text. If you only have a few lines of copy, reducing the text space by splitting your document into columns is a great way to present the text.

Other stuff to consider…

Tracking

What is text tracking?

Tracking is the space between letters within a word. Extending the tracking works especially well (in my opinion) with lighter weight fonts, or type that is all capitals. Generally headings (especially extra large, one or two word headings) benefit from tightening the tracking slightly, with letters kerned for balance. Small footnotes often benefit from having slightly looser tracking – especially if the piece is intended for print.

Kerning

What is text kerning?

Whereas tracking looks at the space between letters in an overall piece of text, kerning is the relationship between individual letters within a word. Often with computer type (especially Google fonts) the space between some letters looks frankly, odd. To combat this you can adjust the kerning in the letters to better harmonise them within the formation of the word.

Leading

Leading is the space between one line of text and another. Making the leading larger by just a little bit makes reading your text that much easier, it looks nicer too and fits in line with the ethos that less is always better. Always. If you have more space between the lines, it means you have to be more concise with what you say in the lines.

Alignment

What is text alignment?

The western world reads text left to right, and more often than not it is better to align your copy this way. Justified text can look really neat in columns but attention should be paid to the gaps created between words when using this style. It can end up looking like rivers of space running through your copy if you’re not careful.

For those of you creating artwork on the Microsoft suite of packages, you can read about how to adjust tracking, leading, kerning here.

Lastly, you need to think about the weight of the fonts you use. If you choose to use light weight fonts, legibility is imperative so consider placing them on uncomplicated, flat coloured backgrounds.

To Summarise

An art form in its own right, typography isn’t just the words to present the message, it’s an integral part of the design. By looking at type as a design element and considering how it is used you can create some really dynamic, interesting layouts simultaneously informing and delighting the reader with a blend of structure, balance, character and creativity.

If you think it’s time to refresh your branding we would love to hear from you.

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Is it time your branding had a refresh?

If the answer is yes, we’d love to hear from you! Call 01732 920 236

Let’s have a conversation to find out what you would like to achieve and how we can fulfil that requirement for you.

We’ll take the time to understand what you do and how you do it so we can offer creative solutions fit for the challenge.

Mivvy Creative is a boutique design agency.

We are a creative agency offering branding and design solutions for businesses. Through print, photography, video and digital mediums we seek to engage your clients and showcase your business’ personality. We look to build relationships and a deep understanding of our clients, their customers, employees and the products and services they offer and we take ownership of the challenges you may be experiencing.

We believe collaboration is key so work closely with you, integrating into your workflow and acting as an extension to your team.

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01732 920 236

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