Logos are one of the first things a company should create. It’s what their target audience will use to associate with their products or services, how they’ll recognize their brand, and what sets them apart from the competition. Recently, our design expert and Art Director, Holly Mullinax, answered five tough questions regarding typography in relation to logo design. Here are her responses:
1. How can an audience inform your logo’s font choice?
Much like color, different typefaces evoke different emotions. Sans Serif fonts can project modernity and simplicity, while serif fonts can convey stability and tradition. Script fonts offer elegance, while display fonts portray a more playful or hand-made feeling.
The font you choose for a logo can add to or detract from the credibility of your brand. For example, an attorney logo rendered in a hand-written or display font may not convey the seriousness or professionalism that one expects when hiring legal representation. A client might see the use of a hand-written font as too playful or carefree, and disregard the firm’s services or authority altogether. The right typeface is imperative for projecting the right brand message and can be just as important as the colors and visual elements you choose to represent your brand.
2. Are there industry-specific font conventions designers should be aware of?
Don’t use extremely common or ubiquitous fonts, as these can be easy to recreate or mimic. Also, be careful about using fonts with extremely thin strokes or extreme stroke contrasts. Rendering these fonts at small sizes may make the strokes disappear.
3. What about popular font choices with which you can’t go wrong?
Good typefaces are expensive, so more often than not, designers will utilize the same few fonts over and over. While there are many wild and varying opinions on this subject, some classic typefaces for logo usage include: Helvetica, Univers, and Futura (for your sans-serif needs), Trajan (this one is often recognized as the movie title font), Bodoni, and Garamond (for serif logotypes).
4. What are typography mistakes you should avoid in your logo design?
One of the worst mistakes you can make with typography in your logo design is to use a typeface or typographic effect that sacrifices the readability or the legibility of your logo. This kind of mistake could create brand confusion and detract from the credibility of your brand.
Other mistakes include ignoring typography hierarchy, utilizing faux-bolding or faux-italics when a typeface doesn’t offer those font options, non-proportionally stretching fonts, using too many fonts or weights, adding unnecessary effects like drop shadows and outlines, and ignoring tracking and kerning.
5. What companies would benefit from a typographic logo design rather than a symbol one?
A typographic logo — or logotype — is a great choice for businesses with an uncommon or memorable name (e.g. Coca-Cola, Yahoo, Facebook, and Google). Using a unique word paired with an interesting typeface is a quick way to create brand recognition.
They’re also great for parent/umbrella companies with many sub-brands, or for companies where a product or service is an abstract concept with no previous universally recognized or understood symbols. Logotypes also stand the test of time, as they aren’t burdened with trendy or gimmicky imagery.
As Featured in Best Company
This information and more were recently featured in an article by Best Company – a business that strives to empower consumers to make the best decisions and connect confidently with companies that deserve their business. Read the full article here.