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Why font choice matters

Fonts seem really simple, right? Pick a font that you like and slap it on your stuff. Boom – sorted! It’s not quite that simple.

If you’ve ever seen a top text/bottom text meme, you know what the meme font is. If you’ve ever seen a Disney movie or the logo, or just, you know, lived at any point in the past 30 years, you know what the Disney (Disnep?) logo looks like. If you’ve ever shared office space with a designer, you have likely heard them exclaiming loudly about the use of Comic Sans somewhere, and then immediately flipping their desk and leaving the room, or sobbing silently into their keyboard.

Fonts say a lot, whether you realise it or not. They tell us about the personality, perspective, and values of a business or a person. By this point, if you’re a non-designer, you’re probably thinking, whatever, they’re just letters – it’s not that much of a big deal, so we thought we would let you decide how much of a big deal fonts really are based on your reaction to the made up examples below…

Does this really strong, bold, heavy, shouty font make you feel PEACEFUL?

When you think of relaxation, peace, tranquility – all the good stuff that comes with a massage, you likely think of something a bit more feminine, maybe something a bit scripty/cursive or that looks handwritten and has much more flow to it. Either way, we’re pretty sure whatever you’re imagining is definitely something that’s less like nana got her capslock stuck on while she was replying to your Facebook post.

Listen, there is nothing wrong, whatsoever, with expression yourself. But if you’re expressing your brand, you need to make sure that your brand is more visible than you. If you have a tough, rough, gruff or gritty brand, you should opt for a font that reinforces that. This is a (not real) example of fonts that don’t match the messaging. Curly, floral, feminine shapes do not fit the tough biker image.

Mmm, so clean. So clean, in fact, that we can feel the weird, sticky, slimy object dripping off the walls and smooshed on the bench. Blergh. Do you feel clean when you look at this? Do you feel like eating? Nah, neither.

Oh, Linda. We’re gonna go out on a limb here and suggest Bob Ross probably wouldn’t approve – fonts shouldn’t be a happy little mistake. This blocky, stiff and aggressive font is neither happy, nor a good choice for something natural, fluid, artistic and serene.

Does this feel like a professional font? Or one that inspires confidence that the company and/or people behind it would be experts in the design domain? It’s uneven, unpredictable and different, but in a bad haircut kinda way. If quirky or different is what you’re going for, it’s best to go for something quirky that is still professional and polished, not that looks like someones precious babies slapped crayon on the walls.

Ahh, the font that is the visual definition of infuriating. Honestly, can’t say much more than that.

So much to say about this. Firstly, this font is damn near impossible to read and should never be used, for anything, and secondly, this is the polar opposite of fluid and full of motion – it’s geometric in nature, which immediately means maths, numbers, measurements – not necessarily things that aren’t aligned with dancing (most dancing is about precision), but definitely not fluid or reminiscent of movement. No.

Hopefully, they have horse parking outside. So modern, so young, so fresh… so not these things. And, that’s ok if you’re going for a western-themed bar/venue, but if you’re going for something that isn’t themed, it’s best to try to stay away from themed fonts, and if you’re going for something that is themed, make sure you pick a font that’s on brand with the theme and can stand the test of time and last you years before it ages, rather than months.

Speaking of lasting years, not months, choose a font that won’t terrify the living soul out of your customers. This font feels haphazard – like jangling down the motorway, bouncing around in a seat with no padding, in a car with no suspension, with Trevor doing 120km/h weaving in and out of the lanes. It’s a font that incites anxiety, which probably isn’t what you want to convey, unless you’re running a haunted house or a theme park.

Fonts are subjective to some degree – meaning what I interpret from a font may not be what you interpret. However, the spread of how people react won’t be that wild – most people will react to a font the same way.

When you’re branding your business or preparing goodies for your business, make sure you’re making font choices that fit your brand. A quick cheat to doing this is to ask yourself a few questions before you commit to the font:

  • Does the font look the same, or similar, to fonts you’re currently using?
  • Is the font easy to read up close and from far away?
  • Does the font make people around you gasp, or say what?

If you answered yes to the first two, and no to the last one, you’re probably on to a winner. If not, time to head back to the drawing board, and if all else fails, get in touch with us to help!

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