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Building your Brand: How to Choose the Right Fonts

Building a brand identity is not an easy task.

Your logo design, business card design, brand messaging, brand colors, and brand fonts all have to come together to tell the story of your brand. And that story has to resonate with your audience.

The typefaces you choose can have a huge impact on the way your brand communicates.

After all, it's not just what you say: It's how you say it. By choosing fonts that reflect your brand's values—traditional or quirky, fun or formal—you can attract the right kind of customers.

The perfect brand fonts should:

  • Be unique & memorable

  • Be legible

  • Work on every platform

  • Communicate your brand personality

Source: Wix

So how do you pick the right fonts for your brand?

1. Get to know your brand personality

Every brand identity needs a well-defined brand personality. A clear brand personality will be what your customers relate with, connect to and remember you for. This can play a role in increasing your brand awareness.

If your brand personality isn’t already well-defined, spend some time thinking about how you’d like your brand to be perceived before you try to find your brand fonts.

Not sure where to start? Work with your stakeholders to pick 3-4 adjectives from the list below:

Source: EZRankings

Having a clear brand personality in mind will guide you in choosing fonts that complement your brand message and tone.

2. Understand the Personality Traits of Each Font Category

If you’re not a typography nerd, you might not be familiar with the idea of font categories. But they can be a good place to start your search for the perfect brand fonts.

Font categories are classifications that help designers choose, pair, and identify fonts.

Each category has its own unique traits so understanding these categories is critical for finding the right fonts for your brand personality. They’ll help you narrow down your search and hone in on the right feel for your brand.

Here are six of the basic font classifications:

Source: Venngage

3. Know your Budget and Licensing Requirements

Before you get serious about picking your brand fonts, you should think about how you’re going to source your fonts.

Some font libraries offer free, open-source fonts, including:

While convenient, free font libraries tend to offer a limited selection of fonts, and these fonts might only come in a few different styles (like bold or italic). It might be hard to find font families with a range of different font weights and styles (like light, regular, semibold, bold, and more).

These libraries can give you access to many more options, but they can get expensive. Most paid font libraries will charge individual fees for each type of font license. So if you want to use your new font on the web, in a mobile app, and for print materials, you’ll probably have to pay for three separate font licenses.

Whether you go for free or paid fonts is up to you, but when making your decision, consider where your brand fonts are going to be used.

4. Pick a Pair of Brand Fonts that Match your Brand Personality

Once you’re familiar with your brand personality and you’ve got a handle on the different font categories, you should be ready to try out some fonts for your brand.

But the font categories we reviewed above don’t really tell the whole story when it comes to font personalities.

There’s a ton of style variation within each category that impacts the vibe of each font, and how you pair the fonts plays a huge role, too.

Let’s look at some font pairing schemes that work for different brand personalities.

Pair a bold serif header with a sans-serif sub-header for an approachable yet trustworthy feel

The contrast between serif and sans-serif styles makes them a natural pairing, allowing you to balance the modern traits of the sans-serif font with the trustworthy vibe of the serif font.

Source: Pier 9 Design

Some balanced serif/sans-serif pairings include:

  • Abril Fatface (header), Montserrat (subheader)

  • Rozha One (header), Raleway (subheader)

  • Abril Fatface (header), Quicksand (subheader)

Use a single, minimal sans-serif font for a modern, professional, corporate look

You can try pairing a bold version of a modern sans-serif font with a regular version of the same font for a look that’s sleek and professional.

You can’t really go wrong when you’re pairing a font with itself, so it’s a safe approach if you’re not confident in your typography skills.

Some minimal design sans-serif font pairing options include:

  • Economica Bold (header), Economica Regular (subheader)

  • Montserrat Regular (header), Montserrat Bold (subheader)

  • Source Sans Pro Bold (header), Source Sans Pro Regular (subheader)

Use thin, stylized, sans-serif fonts for a high-end, elegant feel

According to font psychology researcher Sarah Hyndman, thinner, lighter weight fonts are consistently rated as looking more expensive than heavier, more rounded fonts.

As in the example below, you can create a delicate, high-end look by mixing a thin sans-serif header with a light serif subheader:

So if you’re looking for elegant fonts, stick light, thin fonts, like:

  • Julius Sans One

  • Playfair Display

  • Poiret One

  • Verdana

Use thick, rounded sans-serif fonts for a youthful, friendly feel

Thick, rounded sans-serifs have the opposite effect to thin, lightweight fonts–they appear playful, affordable, and youthful.

As seen in the logo design below, they match well with fun, friendly, inclusive businesses such as restaurants, toy stores or pet care:

Source: Kinoto Studio

For this friendly, approachable feel, use thicker, rounded font pairings like:

  • Quicksand Bold (header), Open Sans (subheader)

  • Fredoka One (header), Montserrat (subheader)

  • Quicksand Bold (header), Quicksand Regular (subheader)

5. Make sure your brand fonts meet 3 basic requirements

After you’ve chosen one or two brand fonts that align with your brand personality, there are a few final checks you should do before pitching them to your client or manager.

Brand fonts must be flexible

Considering you’re probably going to be stuck with these fonts for years to come, you’ll need to make sure your brand fonts work well for every medium (including print, web, and mobile).

Make sure you have the proper licenses for each application, and if you plan to use your brand fonts on your product packaging design, your blog, in external presentations and in static social media images, make sure you mock up designs for each.

Brand fonts should have multiple font weights

Multiple font weights (i.e. light, regular, semibold, and bold) are critical for building a clear text hierarchy, which should be specified in your brand style guide.

You’ll need to use the different font weights to differentiate between headers, subheaders, body text, callouts, and quotes in both print and online media.

Brand fonts must be legible

Finally, brand fonts must be legible. It should be easy to read and understand any text styled in your brand fonts…uppercase or lowercase, large or small, numbers or letters.

The brand font that you use for headers doesn’t have to be quite as legible as the font you use for body copy, but nonetheless, it should be easy to read at a glance.

In Conclusion...

Much like any other brand design challenge, picking brand colors is all about finding fonts that match your brand personality (and making sure they’ll work for anything you throw at them).

Not sure which fonts would be most suitable for your brand? Our designers can help, simply contact us here!


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