What is your corporate style?
This may sound a bit grand if your business is just you, or you and a few others but take a moment to think about it. You are regularly communicating with your customers and markets and we talk a lot about message consistency being important. Much of this attention focuses on the information you are sending and the importance of a joined-up and connected approach to what you are saying. However, there are other areas that play a big role in how you are perceived by your marketplace.
Over a series of articles I plan to look at 3 key areas:
- Fonts & Typestyles
- Your Corporate Style
With a bit of thought, it is easy to align all of these in your business and build a strong ‘style platform’ to really enhance the visual brand-perception of your customers and contacts. In this article, I look at the first area….
Fonts and Typestyles
Do you simply use the default font (normally Times New Roman or Arial) or do you have a font you prefer?
Specialist fonts and typefaces used to be expensive to buy so most people using PCs stuck with the small collection of styles that was bundled with earlier versions of Windows. Over the years, this collection of bundled fonts has grown exponentially and, as well as bundled fonts, there are many websites offering an even wider range of fonts styles you can download and use. This said, don’t fall into the trap of having a different font for each occasion. I recommend you pick a single font and use that as your corporate font. You can vary it with size, weight, italic and colour but make sure that when your customers see anything you write, on-line or on paper, it is always ‘your’ font.
Here are some tips for picking a font:
1. Decide Which Characteristics You Want Your Brand to Convey
First, consider these questions: What are the key qualities of your brand? What’s your brand personality — is it serious and trustworthy, or jovial and fun? What do you stand for, and what do you want to communicate to your users? Also, think about your target market. What are their interests and aspirations? How do they communicate? This knowledge will help shape your brand identity.
2. Make Sure Your Font Style Aligns with Your Brand’s Character
The next step, to pick a font that matches the mood and feel of your brand, is key. Every font has a distinct personality and character, so you need to be thoughtful when you select one. Some fonts are elegant and refined, some are whimsical and playful, and some are traditional and formal.
Generally, fonts can be broken down into several broad categories:
Serif fonts have little “feet” and carry a traditional, classic feeling. They are considered to convey authority, reliability, confidence, and respectability. Serif font examples include Baskerville, Garamond, Caslon, and Palatino.
A subset of this group is slab serif fonts, which have thick, blocky serifs. They’re often used in headlines, and their geometric serifs give them an air of confidence and strength. Font examples include Rockwell, Archer, Egyptian Slate, and Memphis.
Sans serif fonts lack the “feet” and generally have a clean, simple, modern, and sensible feel to them. Some typography experts recommend using sans-serif fonts for the web because they’re easier to read on screens, but as screen resolutions continue to improve, many say that serif fonts work just as well on the web. Font examples include Helvetica, Avenir, Arial, and Futura.
Cursive fonts (which includes most handwritten fonts) generally embody femininity, elegance, creativity, and friendliness. These can be used for impact but I recommend avoiding them as your core font. They can be difficult to read, particularly when in a block of body text.
Novelty fonts are bold, quirky, fun, and eye-catching. They are designed to be loud and flashy, which creates visual interest and makes them great for headlines but also makes them difficult to use. Again, novelty fonts are typically best avoided when considering your corporate style.
3. Make Sure Your Fonts Are Readable
Readability is a major priority when considering your corporate font style. You could have a brilliant message, but it’s all for nought if it’s not legible. Here’s a tip:
If you’re working with a sans-serif font, try typing a capital I (i), a lowercase l (L), and a number 1 next to each other. Can you tell the difference between them? If not, then readability might be an issue
Good typography is crucial to building a strong brand identity and creating a favourable first impression. But with so many fonts out there, it can feel overwhelming to pick the right one. Feel free to experiment with different ones and refine as you go. As long as you select a core font that reflects the tone of your business and your brand, you’ll deliver a strong message
In the next article in this series, I will look at colours and how to include a colour palette in your overall style.