Good typography has its own personality. It can help a brand stand out in the marketplace and is a very important part of good branding. Done well, the shape and form of the letters can say so much more than what they actually spell out.
I always remember a project I did at university where we were given a whole range of words. Our task was to ‘design’ these words so they conveyed their meaning not only through what they spelt out but the way they looked. It forced us to think about what the shape and colour of the letters communicated and to push the boundaries of designing with type. This is where my appreciation of typography, and its power began.
Companies with a large budget for marketing often have whole typefaces custom designed for use on promotional materials. It gives them the opportunity to create something which truly reflects how they want to speak their messages. On a smaller scale you can make sure you consistently use one or two typefaces that are relevant to your over-arching message for all of your communications – usually one for headlines and another complementary one for any copy and correspondence. Over time you will start to ‘own’ these fonts in the marketplace. Someone could see a headline set in your font, and along with other visual clues such as colour, they will know that the piece of communication they are viewing is yours.
You can also make sure your logo is custom designed. A custom designed font in your logo can be extremely powerful. Not only does it make it unlike any other brand out there but it also creates a unique shape that you own. Think of the ‘shape’ of the brand Coca-Cola. You only need to glance at it and you instantly recognise it without having a chance to read it. I’ll bet you could change it to read Cart-Coal and most people wouldn’t even notice the change.
It’s because most people don’t read a brand name except for the first time they see it. From then on they see the form and shape of the logo and in an instant they assume they know what it is. They fill in the blanks and make an assumption. It’s a similar principle to those emails you see going around where whole sentences are written with the first and last letters of a word in the correct place but all the others mixed up. This is just another reason why it is important to have a strong, unique brand mark!
In print mediums typography is your tone of voice. It can shout your message, deliver it in a friendly manner, speak with authority or any other tone you desire. It can help you say your message as if you were speaking it to your audience. The shapes and forms of letters add up to far more than what they spell out.
Typography is a powerful communicator, make sure you use it wisely.