Brand typography basics

7 Typography Resources so You Can Choose the Best Brand Fonts

Master brand typography basics with the concepts here so you can get started with an important brand element — the font you use.

Why start with fonts?

Your font choice tells a lot about your business and what it stands for. Marketing guru Seth Godin talks about it here.

Before you decide what you want the font to say, let’s review the two main font categories.

Brand typography basics: Font categories

Serif fonts are classic, timeless, easy to read

Serif font example

Serif fonts have little “feet” at the bottoms of the letters. You probably have Georgia and Times Roman on your computer, and those are both serif fonts. They are classic, timeless and make your business look established.

Serif fonts are good for long blocks of text, too, which is why most books and magazines are set in them.

Sans-serif fonts are streamlined, modern, contemporary

Sans serif font example

Sans means “without,” so sans serif fonts are “without” the little feet that serif fonts have. You probably have Arial and Verdana on your computer, and they are both sans serif fonts.

Sans serif fonts are streamlined, modern and contemporary and make your business look cutting-edge and modern. They’re good for instructions, or any time clarity is important. Sans serif fonts look great on the web, and many sites use them as text fonts.

Brand typography basics: Don’t overdo your fonts

To make your job easier, I recommend you use no more than two fonts. Pick full “families,” with regular, italic, semi-bold and bold weights. That will give you lots of options for headlines, subheads and captions.

For maximum versatility, pick a serif and a sans serif font that work well together. This can be tricky to get just right. Read on for a simple way to do it:

Put your beautiful fonts to good use starting today

There’s a lot you can do with your brand fonts once you choose them. 

Register for my FREE on-demand workshop and discover how to create stunning visuals you can use on your website, in ads, on social media, and in your email marketing … even if you’re not a designer!

Use your “AGE” to combine fonts like a pro

font-combine

To combine a serif and sans serif font, look for similar letter forms. The best letters to try to match up are lower case “a,” “g,” and “e.” Let’s take a look:

See the font sample above? Notice the shape of the letter “a.” Now look at the “g” and “e.”

font-combine-option-a-b

Which example below best matches the font above?

The lower case “a,” “g,” and “e” in example a are the best match. The letter forms are similar. These two fonts will combine well without clashing.

Don’t stress if they’re not exact matches

If you have trouble finding fonts with letter forms that are exact matches, look for similar shapes in as many letters as you can find. 

Pairing fonts with similar font “x-height” is important: See this post for more on x-height.

In search of typography resources?

It’s easy to find fonts on the web at low or no cost. Be careful, though: many are low quality, and will make your business look unprofessional.

A quality, full-family font that represents your business is a great investment, and since font technology doesn’t evolve as quickly as software, your font should still be as usable in 20 years as it is today. Adobe FontsFonts.com, and Myfonts.com are good resources where you can invest in fonts to represent your business.

For no-cost fonts, try these links. Remember, go for quality, readability, and a full family of weights if possible:

Google Fonts | FontSquirrel | dafont | urbanfonts

This link from Smashing magazine feature beautiful no-cost fonts:

Smashing magazine 15 fonts

For more brand typography basics, explore the articles below.

More than 30 years of typography experience went into this article! Click through so Pamela Wilson of BIG Brand System can help you learn typography 101. If you’re wondering how to choose your brand typography and how to combine fonts for your brand, you’ve come to the right place! #bigbrand #diydesign #designtips #design101 #branding101