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3.1 What Do Fonts Say About Your Brand?

Hey guys, so in the last section of the course we explored why logos are a great starting point for building brand identities. And how central logos are to creating a certain muse and a unique niche for that brand. We also put together a logo and an icon for the Buzz Studio brand. Or perhaps you're going down the route of putting something together for your own brand design and that is absolutely fine as well. In this section of the course, I want to talk to you about the importance of typefaces in shaping brand identities. Picking fonts might not seem one of the most obvious or necessary steps in the brand design process, but I'm going to convince you that it's actually really, really important. And it's going to help develop a very particular relationship between your brand and your target customer or clients. And that is because typefaces have their own very distinct personalities. So what I mean by personality, that's actually a very human quality. What I mean is that typefaces are made of visual things like lines, curves, bowls, serifs that contribute to the way that that typeface appears to the human eye. Each of those visual elements contributes to a source of subtext, which is not what the text is saying itself but is asking the person to interpret the design of the type in a way that they can understand and quantify. This is a really common psychological trait amongst people, that we read human qualities into inanimate objects or visual designs. So let's take a look at a few examples. Okay, so what can we interpret from this typeface? How does it feel to you? I personally think that it feels very warm, friendly, bouncy. Wouldn't you agree? It might not feel elegant or particularly modern, but its got a cartoony quality that makes it seem quite approachable. Okay, what about this one? It's a bit more modern, minimal. But compared to something a bit more formal like say a serif typeface like this one, it still has quite an open friendly feel. A little ease really rounded and cute which gives it a slightly more naive quality. Okay, so what am I getting at here? Well both of these fonts, which are in fact Cooper Black and Futura team up to make the main brand typefaces of the budget European airline, easyJet. And what easyJet has done is it selected typefaces that have the kind of personalities that they want their customers to perceive the company as having as well. So they want to be seen as friendly, warm, unpretentious, family-focused, and ultimately, they want to be seen as being a very good value to the customer. And these two typefaces working together reinforce that mood and create a really strong sense of personality in their ads. Okay, let's look at another example. So it's a bit different this one, its got a very clinical sparse vibe, but the way that there is nothing superfluous to the type design no serifs, no fast strokes just really ultra minimal kind of makes it feel intelligent, authoritative, futuristic even. And also again because it lacks the formality that you get with some of the serif type styles it still actually has quite an open, friendly feel to it. I bet you're dying to know what it is and big brownie points, if you've managed to figure it out already. So this is Myriad Pro in a lightweight. And a moderated version of this is used by Apple in their advertising. Myriad Pro is ideally suited to the clean, tech-forward aesthetic of Apple's brand. And the choice of font really helps reinforce that feeling that you're buying something that's really the cutting edge. What I want you to take away from these examples is that the typefaces used by a brand are going to help reinforce the message that that brand wants to send out to its target market. Typefaces might not be the most instantly obvious element of a brand identity, but they have a very powerful role to play, nonetheless. They can really shape how customers respond psychologically to the messages that the brand is putting out. So how can you get started with selecting fonts that are going to suit your brand? I want to take you through my normal process of selecting brand typefaces and show you a couple of tips to making sure that you're making the right selection. Right, let's go back to our Buzz Studio brand as a working example. Okay, the first thing that I would think about when I need to track down the perfect typefaces to suit my brand would be what personality or mood I would want my customers to perceive when they see, say an ad or my brand's website. Some of this you can find by thinking about your target market in depth. You might want to even do some market research and interview potential customers about what they would expect or want from your brand. And simple questionnaires are a great way to do this. So approach friends, family, strangers on the street, or do an online questionnaire and send out to a mailing list that you know matches the sort of demographic that you want to be targeting with your brand. Another thing to do is to look at your logo design again and think about the kind of mood and personal qualities that the design has. So what I'm getting from our first design is that it's cool, it's trendy, it's young, it's got a kinda casual and rounded feel in the way that the type style is fluid and hand drawn. The honeycomb graphic feels very minimal. It's making a strong, creative statement. So here's my list so far of the kind of personality traits that we can lift from the logo and look for in our brand typefaces. So that's cool, trendy, youthful, playful, casual, minimal, creative. And it's becoming immediately clear that certain typefaces are not going to fit all or even any of these traits. Something like a conservative serif, like Caslon might not be the best pick. It feels a bit stuffy for the brand, and also something like Helvetica or Arial which although they're very minimal and they're modern San Serifs, they kind of lack that cool and trendy personality that we're looking for. Okay so once you have your personality traits lined up you need to get hunting. A good, basic formula for starting to hunt around for brand typefaces is to find one typeface that can work for headings and titles, and another typeface that is a bit more versatile, has lots of weights, and will work really well for larger chunks of text, like body text or web text, for example. An easy way to remember this is to aim to find an A-Font, that's for headers. And a B-Font, which is for body text. And these might be quite different from each other but they need to compliment each other and look good as a pair. And both of them are still going to meet all the criteria that you've extracted from your market research and from your logo design. So now we can start browsing and looking for the two font styles that are going to fit our criteria so far. I really like using a big, comprehensive fun site like Font Squirrel to just have a browse and consider all the sorts of options that are out there. Because this site offers free to download, free for commercial use fonts, is great for downloading lots of different styles and experimenting with them alongside your logo and other brand elements. So let's head over to now. If you can browse alongside me that would be really great. I want to draw your attention to the classification and tags section over here on the right of the page. To begin thinking about the sort of typeface that might suit your brand, you can start to eliminate a few classifications that will probably not suit. So for Buzz, I think as we were talking about, traditional serifs might not be the best choice. I also think that anything that's too novelty in style is not going to be very versatile. But also, it's not going to fit with the cool, minimal personality of our logo. So things like Comic, Novelty obviously, Stencil, Grunge, Typewriter are not going to be on my radar for Buzz. What I think might suit particularly for an A-font is something that's a modern clean San Serif. So, let's click Sans Serif and see what we get and see if we can narrow that down a bit more. Okay, we're getting somewhere here. These are looking good and they're starting to feel a bit more in tune with the Buzz personality traits. We've got pages of results here which is great. But let's see if we can narrow it down even more. So head over to the tags panel. And have a look down the list. And see if you can spot anything that fits with the mood of our logo. I'm really drawn to the rounded tag, because I think that in a list of traits you picked up on the fact the brand is youthful, playful, and the logo had a very casual, informal design. So let's click on rounded and see what we get. Okay, so this is looking really promising. I really like the more friendly feel of some of these San Serifs. I think Woodford Bourne is nice, but the one that's really catching my eye and feels a bit more right for Buzz is this font which is called Linotte. And what's great about this site is that we can test drive the font to see what some headlines might look like. Let's try WELCOME TO BUZZ in all uppercase characters. I really like that, it's got a very open friendly feel, while it still manages to look on trend and quite cool and minimal. If we go to download it we can see that it's just the semi bold weight that is free, but that's going to be okay for our purposes because I only want to use this font as our A-font for headers and titles. And for that we don't need as much flexibility with having lots of different weights and italics. Of course, if you want to have more versatility later down the line with this font, you can come back and buy more weights. Another thing that's going to be really, really important when you come to choose typefaces for your brand is to choose typefaces that have compatible web font versions. And this is gonna mean that your branding can be completely consistent across both prints and online. You can head up here on the front spring sites to web font demo, which is going to show you how Linotte looks as a webfont, it looks pretty awesome so I'm happy with that. We have our A-font tracked down. In the next lesson, we're going to pick this up and I'm going to show you how you can put together a quick style master for testing the formatting of your chosen typefaces.

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