Many small business owners are struggling to keep their businesses afloat during the pandemic. But despite this challenge, many are still trying their odds and opening businesses. In September 2020, there were 3.2 million applications for employer identification numbers. That's half a million more than in 2019.
But consumer spending is decreasing. Many individuals are tight with money due to being furloughed or laid off because of the pandemic. Thus, the commerce industry is more competitive than ever. Small businesses must do what they can to stand out. And this is possible through branding. It forms a company's identity portrayed through text and images. Some examples of branding materials are the company logo and marketing materials. One of the most important components of branding is the font.
Generally, there are five types of fonts: serif, sans serif, script, handwritten, and decorative. Serif fonts are those with small strokes or “feet” at the end of larger strokes. Some popular examples are Times New Roman, Georgia, and Courier New. Sans-serif fonts are those without the small strokes (hence the “sans” in the name). Arial, Helvetica, and Verdana are common examples.
Script fonts mimic cursive handwriting, such as the font used in Johnson & Johnson's logo. Handwritten fonts are exactly what their name suggests. They're made from someone's actual handwriting. Lastly, decorative fonts either have decorations or are decorations themselves. Some examples include Chiller and Jokerman. Choosing the right font can help businesses elevate their brand and attract customers.
Why Font Matters
Most people are visual learners. In a study about visual versus auditory learning, researchers found that college-aged students are more likely to recall visual stimuli than auditory stimuli. Building upon this information, the right font will help you increase your brand recognition. You'll make it easy for customers to remember your company. This will help you stand out from your competitors. Customers are also more likely to choose your company over others that aren't familiar to them.
Also, fonts can add character to your brand. For example, serif fonts are often associated with formality and trustworthiness. They're also considered the “original” font type, so it's also used to give a traditional and classic vibe. Some famous brands that use serif fonts are Time, Vogue, and Rolex. Sans-serif fonts give a simple, clean, and minimalistic vibe. Script and handwritten fonts are often associated with chicness, elegance, and creativity. Lastly, decorative fonts add drama.
Thus, your font choice will help you establish your brand's personality. For instance, say a person wants to start a stationery shop that sells minimalist-themed items. The owner will want to use either a sans-serif font or a script font in their branding.
Communicating the Right Message
The right font can also help you communicate the right message. Let's go back to the stationery store example. If the owner were to use a horror-themed decorative font in their logo, they would be sending the wrong message about their business. They can use the scary font to promote stationery materials with spooky themes during Halloween, but probably not their logo. Choosing the right font for your branding will help you convey your message appropriately to your potential and existing customers.
Readability of Marketing Materials
Readability is also important in branding and marketing materials. If you post a social media ad with illegible text, your potential customers won't bother reading the ad at all, even if they recognize your company. Using a font that's easy to read will encourage your audience to read the content of your post and engage with your brand.
How to Choose Fonts
In reality, there's no foolproof formula for choosing fonts. You can choose one that seems aesthetically pleasing to you to hope that your target market will feel the same way. You can also check visual design trends to see which fonts people respond positively to and which ones to avoid.
You can also try surveying people who have the characteristics of your target market. Create three or more mockups with different fonts. And then ask the respondents which one they prefer and why. You can even ask them to rank the designs for further analysis.
Fonts do more for a brand than just present words. Fonts are instrumental in establishing a company's identity and standing out over their competition. Business owners must be aware of the benefits of fonts and apply their understanding in designing all visual materials, such as their logo, social media posts, and other marketing materials.