When you see the Coca-Cola or Disney logos, they evoke specific emotions. The fonts are so intertwined with these companies’ identities that if you saw any word written in either font, it would evoke the same feelings.
Your chosen font can set the tone for your company’s perceived persona. Use the following principles to create an accurate representation of your company.
Start with the Basics
Most fonts fit within basic categories. Each category conveys specific traits that contribute to the overall feel of the font. It’s overwhelming to look at a blank, white screen or piece of paper as you try to choose a font for your logo. It’s easier to decide on a basic category and move forward from that point.
Serif fonts have small strokes, called serifs, at the ends of letters and symbols. Times New Roman is a common serif font. Serif fonts are easier to read off screen, which is why you’ll often find serif fonts in books and newspapers.
Serif fonts are the most traditional of the fonts. They give a conservative, traditional look. They give off an air of stability. Most financial and government institutions use serif fonts.
However, serif fonts are used in more unique industries as well. Giorgio Armani, for example, uses a serif font. Serif fonts can convey an air of class.
Sans Serif Fonts
Using the French word sans, which means without, sans serif fonts have a clean-cut look and do not have serifs. Arial is a well-known example of a serif font. It’s easier to read sans serif fonts online, so you’ll often find sans serif fonts used for web text.
Sans serif fonts give off a useful, clean, modern look. Companies who want to seem innovative often choose sans serif fonts. Apple, for example, uses a sans serif font. Facebook, Windows, Toyota, and LinkedIn all use sans serif fonts as well.
Handwriting fonts, as the name might suggest, mimic human handwriting. Disney is one of the most recognizable examples. Handwriting fonts invoke a sense of familiarity and approachability. If you choose a handwriting font, make sure it is legible in all sizes.
Script fonts also often mimic human handwriting. These cursive, script fonts can give off a feeling of elegance and luxury. High-end stores and restaurants often use script fonts.
However, script fonts can also be fun and creative-just think of the Pinterest logo. Sweets shops often use bubbly script as well.
Modifying the Font
As you can see, the font category is only part of the equation. Several factors come into play when creating the perfect font for your company’s logo.
The spacing refers to the gaps between letters. While this might seem like a purely aesthetic element, the spacing between the letters in your logo can convey specific messages about your company.
For example, the FedEx logo has very little spacing to represent their tight, punctual service.
Uppercase and lowercase letters can convey different messages. Uppercase logos often represent strength, class, elegance, or stability. Many financial institutions and high-end jewelry stores use uppercase letters. Lower case letters usually create a more inviting, approachable feel.
Make sure you’re aware of the combined effect of your logo. The how-to book series “For Dummies” uses uppercase letters combined with a handwriting-based font. This creates a non-threatening, approachable persona.
Scaling measures how wide or narrow each letter is in a font. Normal, balanced scales are preferable in most cases. However, when used correctly, wide or narrow fonts can create a unique, memorable logo. Think of the Gap logo, for example.
- Make it timeless: Trends come and go-don’t let your logo become old and outdated. Choose fonts and styles that will stand the test of time.
- If it’s bold, it’ll hold: This advice is often used in tattoo parlors, but it is just as applicable to logos. Avoid super thin lines that you won’t be able to see when your logo is small, like on an icon.
- Make it readable: Script and handwriting fonts are fun, but if they get to elaborate, your customers won’t be able to read your logo. You want people to recognize and read your sign from far away.
- Commit to one main font: Your main logo should use one font to create a unified look. If you want a separate font for a tagline, make sure it contrasts with the main font. Think of Coca-Cola’s script font pair with the sans serif tag “classic.”
- Invest in your logo: Sure, your computer comes with hundreds of font options, but so does every other computer. Your logo will help define your company’s perceived persona-don’t be afraid to invest in a unique, quality font.
- Forget the rules: Design rules are more like guidelines. If you have a great idea that breaks the rules, go for it.
One of the most overwhelming parts of designing a logo is picking the perfect font. If you don’t understand the rules and effects of design principles, it’s easy to miss the mark. Follow these principles to choose a font that represents your company’s desired persona.