Why Your Brand Fonts Matter (& How To Pick the Right Ones)
What if I told you that the fonts you're using for your branding and website could be sending the wrong impression? Or worst yet, that this little mistake could be costing you money?
Choosing the right fonts for your brand is like choosing the right outfit for an interview. It sets the tone and leaves a lasting impression.
I see so many brands (and even brand "designers") that are using super trendy fonts, borderline illegible or using way too many fonts in their designs. While using the right font can elevate a brand's status to high-end or exclusive, the wrong font can make it feel cheap, outdated and unprofessional.
When it comes to your brand visuals and website design, every element plays a crucial role in creating a visually appealing website that engages your ideal client & causes them to convert - all while speaking to the Google God’s.
Let’s nerd our for a minute shall we…
Believe it or not, the fonts on your website do affect your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) by influencing your content’s readability, accessibility, and usability. Fonts can also impact SEO by affecting a page’s load speed and mobile friendliness, which are critical user experience (UX) ranking factors in search engine algorithms.
How? Let's break it down...
1. BOUNCE RATE: Fonts affect SEO by increasing bounce rate due to a poor user experience. If your fonts are illegible, your audience isn't sticking around. They're bouncing within about 0.5 seconds. And search engines like Google can pick up on these signals, measuring when a user clicks a search result and immediately returns to the search results
2. READABILITY: Your font family, size, color, and more shape your content’s readability. Websites that choose a script font (or cursive text) often make it difficult for people to read and understand the content — and many will leave the site in response. That’s why script fonts are often used as a secondary or tertiary font.
3. ACCESSIBILITY: Similar to readability, font affects your website’s accessibility. When businesses choose a background color and font color with low contrast, it’s difficult for people to interact with the content, whether reading it, clicking a button, or completing a form. Again, users are more likely to leave your site.
4. LOAD SPEED: Loading your webpage includes loading your fonts. You will increase your load time if you choose a font that isn’t pre-loaded on the user’s device (like a system font or web-safe font). While this factor can affect page speed, there are several components to a fast load time, like the size of your images, the amount of motions, interactions and pop up’s on your site, video content and more.
5. MOBILE FRIENDLINESS: Fonts can affect search engine optimization when they display incorrectly on smaller screens like tablets or smartphones. This factor is another reason to consider using pre-loaded fonts for your website — don’t worry, either, there are plenty of web-safe fonts available!
How much fonts matter to SEO depends on where they create SEO issues. For example, fonts have a small impact on your page speed, but they have a tremendous influence on your content’s readability, which could have a significant SEO impact.
And while this might be a total hot take as a typeface nerd, but I'd argue that your choice of fonts is the single most important decision you can make for your brand identity and website. The right fonts create the aesthetic of your brand and evoke the essence of your brand personality. They also impact your website by drawing in your audience and lead to higher conversions.
Let's break down the different types of typography and fonts you may consider...
Again, going to nerd out a little here, but so that we're all on the same page here, let's talk about the different between "Typography", "Typefaces" and "Fonts" first.
Typography is the greater umbrella of types or groupings of fonts. It's a collection, family or genre of typefaces and fonts that group together similar styles. For instance, Serif is a typography group. Sans Serif is a typography group.
Typefaces are particular family of fonts - so think of fonts you might know like Times New Roman or Helvetica as a whole group.
Within those groups are fonts or font families are different weights and styles like thin, italic, bold. For instance you could use Helvetica thin as your subheadline and Helvetica regular as your body text.
In simple terms, a font is part of typography. Different fonts are used to make a piece of text more appealing to the human eye so that the viewer remains interested while reading the entire text. The same font can be used in different sizes, and styles to contribute to better typography.
Now that we understand those terms - let's break down the different kinds of typography groups, typefaces and fonts in those families.
A serif font is a font with small strokes or extensions at the end of its longer strokes. They are often used to make a brand or website look more sophisticated, timeless and luxurious.
Sans Serif fonts are "sans-feet" or without the feet. They tend to be the most commonly used in branding due to their simplicity and timeless look.
Slab Serif fonts have squared off ends or tails, giving them a blocky, sturdy appearance as opposed to the more refined and elegant look of a Serif font.
Display fonts are a broader category of fonts that can transcend typography groups. They tend to be shorter in form and used in larger format on applications like billboards, magazines and on book covers.
Handwritten fonts are inspired by everyday handwriting. They have a more organic feel and are more artistic, carefree and trendy.
Script fonts are designed to capture the essence of traditional lettering and calligraphy, bringing a feminine, elegant feel to your design.
What should I look for in a font?
As a brand strategist and website designer, I’m looking at fonts from two perspectives: what does the font say about your brand - and how will it function on your website? It’s important to make sure that you’re choosing a font that works with your overall brand strategy and is easy to read at the size it appears. Here are some things to consider when picking your fonts:
Carefully consider the purpose of your brand and your audience. How do you want to be perceived? List out adjectives that describe how you want to be seen by potential customers.
Understanding the different font categories will help you to decide which is most applicable to your business. Do you want your brand to feel luxurious, high-end, playful, friendly, serious, etc?
Keep It simple:
Choose fonts that are easy to read. It's easy to get excited about beautiful fonts and forget about the importance of functionality and readability but remember: hard-to-read fonts can make your viewer lose interest FAST. Try not to over do it with overlapping fonts and too many different font variations.
You can use multiple fonts in your brand, but you have to be careful and considerate . It's important that the fonts you choose don't compete with each other, rather, when pairing fonts, use simple contrast which is done by using varied font selections, varied font sizes and the weight or thickness of fonts.
I suggest using 2 fonts in different weights, possibly 3 if needed - but no more for your brand. These will be applied everywhere from your logo, packaging and brand collateral to your website email marketing and so on. When picking the perfect fonts, don't just pick the first two fonts you see. Play with them, consider how they work together and how they work with your other brand elements. Some points to consider when pairing fonts:
Contrast: Choose fonts with different weights, like a thicker serif font paired with a thin sans-serif font.
Hierarchy: Consider which font will be more prominent in your branding? As described above, each font carries a different feeling or meaning so consider which will carry more weight.
Mood: Choose fonts that fit the mood or feeling you want your brand and website to convey.
Font Styles: Try mixing different font styles to create contrast and heirarchy.
Size: Play with the size, spacing and boldness of your text.
Layout: Font pairing comes down to the overall layout of your text and if you want everything symmetrical and centered or sporadically aligned.
There is obviously a lot more nuance to all of this, but hopefully this gives you a good start. Remember, when it comes to branding, your website and fonts, consistency is key! Sounds silly, but your fonts play a big role in the overall vibe and aesthetic of your brand - and the function and experience of your website.
Want to snag some of my favorite fonts - along some other valuable small business resources to help you with start, run, and scale your small business? Head over to the Resources page here >>
So grateful and glad you're here!
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for man." - Colossians 3:23