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Picking the Right Typefaces vs Fonts for Your Brand

Northsail Understands that the Little Details Make a Big Difference

You can't maintain strong, long-term customer relationships if your customers aren't happy, or they don't feel like they can relate to your brand.

Northsail clients rely on us to always finish projects on-time, on-spec, and on-budget. They also trust us to follow through on commitments and support them, even after the job is finished - that's why we offer a 6-month guarantee on every project.

Part of establishing strong brand affinity involves creating a visual identity for your brand that your customers can relate with.

Whether that's through effective giveaway campaigns or strategic design and color choices, the goal is to create customer engagement as well as build excitement for your brand's offerings.

With that in mind, we've got some valuable information about fonts and typefaces you may want to consider when you're designing your next site.

What are Typefaces vs Fonts?

Despite the fact that historically typefaces vs fonts are different things, people often use the terms interchangeably in today's landscape. Unless you're a type designer, the actual differences don't really matter anymore, but let's talk about them a bit anyway.

Technically, a typeface is a set of glyphs or sorts (an alphabet, punctuation, and any corresponding accessories) that share a design.

On the other hand, a font would be a particular set of glyphs that exist within a typeface.

So, for example, if your business writes in a specific typeface (i.e., Ariel, Montserrat, etc.), but you change the size from 10 point to 12 point, you're changing the font, not the typeface. When you switch from Ariel to Times New Roman (or any other), you're adjusting the typeface as well as the font.

The Benefits of Using Specific Font Styles & Typefaces

Design trends have shifted the landscape for typefaces and font styles over the last several years. As companies continue to diversify and expand their marketing materials, we're seeing more and more different types of display fonts being used by business owners.

Some styles of typeface are better than others at connecting with your audience. If you can find the right typeface to represent your brand, not only can businesses create strong brand identities, but they can create a long-lasting, personal connection with customers.

Should You Choose Free Fonts?

This is a really important topic to discuss, because there is an entire universe of free fonts floating around online, which all claim to be safe-to-use and easy-to-install.

Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. In fact, in some cases, free fonts can be a disastrous choice to use, especially if you're choosing to download them from unreliable sources.

You can't just Google fonts and hope that you find something worthwhile at the top of the SERPs list. Take the time and do some research, before you download anything from a site you don't recognize.

Free fonts come in a wide range of styles, but unless you're getting them from a trusted source, there's no guarantee that what you're downloading is actually going to be what you think it is.

The digital typography industry is loaded with scams and viruses that are just waiting for you to click the wrong button, so they can throw a whole new kind of wrench into your business plans.

Don't give them the opportunity. Make research a regular part of any marketing effort, including finding safe, perfect fonts for your next design project.

Popular Types of Font Styles & Typefaces

Times New Roman

One of the most traditional fonts, Times New Roman is becoming less prevalently used as part of typography in branding. This is mostly because it's considered 'old-school' and outdated.

While this might not be the best choice for your style guide compared to certain modern styles, there's still value in using Times New Roman for things like published papers and academic works, since it still has a reputation for carrying a tone that's both formal and professional.

It just may not be the best choice for your website, unless you're building a very academically-driven page.

Serif & Sans-Serif Fonts

You may think that Serif fonts and Sans-Serif fonts are the same, but the truth is they're actually not.

Serif is actually the term for the decorative stroke that's added to the stem of each letter, so when you use a serif typeface, you're choosing a style that does have a stroke.

Conversely, Sans-Serif simply means that the decorative stroke is missing from the shape of the letters. The basic style of typeface could be similar, but the key difference between them is that decorative stroke.

This means if you're trying to find a style of typography that uses more elegant fonts, you'd want to choose a Serif typeface. A more minimalist style might be better suited to a Sans-Serif typeface.

Ariel Font

Ariel is one of the most common resume and script fonts, as it's a very easy to read. There are a number of different styles of Ariel font, but they all fall under the same categories of fonts.

Ariel is also considered a neutral type of typeface, which means that it's easily accessible for readers and it looks clean on the page. However, this doesn't mean that it's necessarily suited to be on your website.

While the style is easily readable on white pages, using Ariel typefaces through your site may not lead to a cohesive design, especially if you're not careful with any other pairing of fonts.

If you're using customer data forms, Ariel typefaces can be a great choice for keeping things looking clean and inviting to read, which could help increase form conversions.

Comic Sans

This is one font that gets a lot of flak, and for good reason. Comic Sans typeface is one of the least professional typefaces you can find.

Unless your business is promoting something that's purposefully childish, it's probably a good idea to avoid using Comic Sans in your website packaging design. It may be one of the most classic typefaces, but that doesn't mean it's good for your brand.

Alternatively, used very tactfully, this could be a good choice to convey the emotions of innocence and a childish appearance to your audience.

Just remember: Even a master of the elements of typography probably wouldn't use Comic Sans on their business cards, unless their day job was a birthday party clown or something similarly childish.

Cursive Fonts

If elegance is one of the key elements in your brand identity, you may want to consider using decorative fonts, like those done in cursive lettering.

Looking at the design principles of typography, these types of decorative fonts convey an atmosphere of luxuriousness and premium quality offerings.

You have to keep in mind how important these factors are, because impressions matter.

It's great to take some creative freedom with your typeface, and you could even include handwritten fonts in cursive for an extra bit of differentiation.

However, if this high-class atmosphere doesn't fit with your brand (and the things you offer), it can make your messaging seem muddled, and your brand image appear unreliable.

Personalizing Your Design

Bold Style

Really want your text to stand out against the colors or images you're using in the background? Then bold styles might be exactly what you're looking for.

There is a bold style of almost every typeface that you can imagine, which usually amounts to a thicker style of the regular version. This means if you like the style of a typeface, but it's a bit too thin for how you'd like to use it, the bold version might be the perfect print design for you.

Of course, this isn't always the case. Be mindful that too much bold style can become offensive to readers, or make your content appear amateurish. Use bold sparingly in your marketing graphics, otherwise it will lose its punch.

Unique Letter Spacing

Depending on the typeface that you choose, certain types of lettering will seem very tight. If you're using a smaller font size on your website, this could make some typefaces difficult to read.

Thankfully, you can always adjust the letter spacing of your font, so that it breaks up the words a little bit more and increases the readability of your content.

This can not only improve the immediate customer engagement on your site, but it can increase your conversions as well. That’s a big win from such a small change.

Using Geometric Shapes

Geometric shapes, especially in custom fonts, can be a great way to help your copy stand out and really grab your customers' attention.

While sometimes effective in small doses, it's important to make sure you're doing this correctly when you do use shapes as an element in your typography, and that you're sure not to overuse them.

If you start including shapes excessively across your pages or within your marketing material, your messaging will be blurred, and it could even become so distracting it turns visitors away from your site, instead of leading them through your planned customer journey.

A little bit goes a long way, so be very careful if you're going to include a geometric form in any of your branded materials.

Capitals or Lowercase Letters?

This is the eternal question, especially when it comes to stylizing the header sections on your website - should you use capital letters or lowercase ones? For that matter, should you use sentence case or title case?

It's extremely important to think about these questions before you choose the fashion of your design, because some decorative fonts look extremely different from upper to lower case.

In turn, this can have a huge impact on your overall design of your site. Just as you spend time thinking about how to frame your lettering in your brand's style guide, be sure to keep fonts in design conversations too.

Otherwise, you could end up having to go back to the drawing board after you think you've finally come to a choice on your typeface.

Handwritten Fonts

This can either be a fantastic choice for your brand or potentially detrimental to your image.

Handwritten fonts at personality to the digital form of your brand, but that can be both a good thing or a bad thing.

Be extremely mindful of style when you're considering a handwritten font for your site, and be sure to hire someone experienced in print design when you’re creating your perfect typeface.

Because these are usually a custom design, perfect typography takes experience and talent. Saving a few dollars by sourcing the print design internally or a minimal budget, could end up costing your business more in the long-run when your business plan doesn't yield the ROI you wanted.

Northsail Knows How Important Convenient Font & Typeface Settings are for Website Design

Easily Adjust Your Settings to Create the Perfect Brand Fonts with 'Horizon'

Would you like to enjoy the freedom to shift your font selection at a moment's notice? Well, our newest service 'Horizon' lets you do just that.

Not only can you quickly create high-performance landing pages and customer data collection forms, but you'll easily be able to adjust colors and typeface choices across whole pages or unique sections with a few simple clicks.

Best of all, you can still take part in Horizon's free trial. That's right - no cost, no obligation - we just ask that you take a few minutes to let us know what you think about Horizon, once you've had a chance to check it out.

If you're ready to start saving time and money on your next site design, Horizon is exactly what you need. The trial is only on for a limited time, so what are you waiting for?

Sign up for early access to Horizon!

We’ll send you important updates about the early access program and your free invite when we are ready.

Your contact information will only be used for the early access program, not for future sales and marketing.

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