When approaching print marketing, we often focus so much on the layout, the images, and the content that font seems to be pushed to the side. Whether it’s the body font, headline, or subtitle font you are looking at, often we simply opt for a simple font and hope for the best. But, the impact that font can have on your business and the way that it impacts your customers, is underrated. When we think of a brand’s logo, we rarely think of an image: it’s just the brand name and font. For instance, Coca-Cola. We don’t picture the cartoon bottle of coke that often accompanies the logo, but the swirly, cherry-red typeface of ‘Coca-Cola’. Or, if you were to envision the font and colour for Barbie, the slightly-angled, swirly candy-pink synonymous with the brand should spring to mind. Images may be crucial to print marketing, but we often forget that font is, at its core, another visual tool not too dissimilar to pictures. So, it is pertinent that we keep font in mind and let the font we use tell a bigger story than what the text says. Whether it’s a brand logo or the body text on your latest print marketing campaign, how can you best utilise font psychology to not only sell your product, but to sell your brand’s message? Read on for our three essential tips to choosing fonts for print marketing.
1. Choose a font that emphasises your brand and message
There are hundreds of thousands of fonts in existence, so finding the perfect font for an advertising campaign, or even for your brand logo, can seem like a daunting task. The first step is to identify which group of fonts best represents your brand. These are serif, sans serif, script, and decorative.
Serif fonts are your traditional fonts that have ‘feet’ on each of the letters, such as with Times New Roman and Garamond. These are used by brands such as Sony, Tiffany & Co., and Volvo. This type of font evokes a sense of reliability, experience, and authority from a brand.
Sans serif fonts are classic fonts that have the ‘feet’ of serif fonts cut off to create a simpler typeface perfect for web design. This is seen in fonts such as Arial and Helvetica, and across mainly internet brands such as YouTube, Facebook, and Netflix.
Script fonts closely resemble handwriting, or more cursive, decorative fonts. With flourishes and a sense of fluidity, fonts like these typically represent a sense of elegance or refined playfulness in a brand. Font examples include Edwardian Script and Zapfino, with brands such as Coca-Cola, Cartier, and Kellogg’s. Note: use sparingly in body text due its lack of readability.
Decorative fonts classify the remainder of the fonts that don’t fit under the other categories. These are the fonts that are experimental, theme-based, and are often used by companies with a creative edge. Because of this, they are bold, fun, quirky, and most importantly – eye-catching. When used sparingly, fonts like this can add great visual interest to print or web copy, but they should be paired with a simpler font for body text for clarity. An example of this is the Disney logo below, or the decorative fonts Curlz and Chalkduster.
2. Create visual shapes with your text
Once you’ve established which fonts are best for your headings and body text, now you can push the envelope and create visual shapes with your text. Whether you fill a square with text and delete the square, shape your text into a staircase, or even use your text to create a physical image such as a silhouette of a hammer or the product you sell. The shapes you make with white space are just as important as the shapes you make with text and image. How is the white space between all your visual elements affecting the way you view and respond to your marketing print? The white space should be enough to allow space and clarity to your brand message, but shouldn’t be too great to make the print look stark, and shouldn’t be too little so to create a feeling of claustrophobia. Play around with your layout to find the best use of space.
3. Choose contrasting sizes
If you are creating a piece of print marketing, it is obvious that you are not going to be using the same sized font. But, deciding how to differentiate headings from body text, and even between different pieces of information, can be more difficult than initially meets the eye. Size does matter when it comes to font, not just because of readability or space-issues, but because it can impact the overall impression your client can receive from your marketing material. If you want to create an aura of simplicity, use a larger font and greater white space. This will send a very clear, straightforward message about who you are as a brand and what your customer can anticipate from the brand. If you have a more creative brand, you may opt for more than two contrasting sizes and fonts. Play around with different sizes for headings, for subtitles, and for body text with readability and visual aesthetic at the core of your thinking. Whatever font you choose to represent your brand and product behind your next piece of print marketing, be sure to consider how it impacts the way your customers see your brand, and more importantly, how effective your piece of marketing is at converting leads into sales.