While most people are walking around the world thinking about what to cook for dinner or what to do next with their work, designers are thinking about everything they come across. Be it anything, they want to understand it all: How does it look the way it looks? Why does it make people feel the way it does? And most of all, “what would have I done differently?” From thereon, they start thinking about colors they would change, fonts they would edit, and so on. Something similar happened when Joe, my flatmate, was trying to select fonts of logo designs.
It had been 7 hours and 29 minutes since she started, and like most designers, she is still a bit unsure.
After all, typography is a crucial element in logo design, in fact, in every design. It gives the direction and sets the mindset of the customers, helps them form an opinion regarding the product/service and people associated with the same, creates a base for customer engagement with companies, and does much more – considered as a medium of visual communication between a company and its customers.
Therefore, in this guide, I incorporate everything you need to know about selecting fonts for logos.
Factors in Selecting Fonts for Logo Design
As your designed logo will convey the tone, values, and identity of a brand, you as a designer must consider all the elements and factors associated with the same.
The entire point of a written text is to convey a message, to communicate. That makes readability the number one priority while selecting a font for a logo design. It may or may not be the fanciest style of typography, but it should certainly be convenient for people to read. One such font style is Serifs – the entire family. You have your options for heading and for the body as well.
We may or may not intend for the font – no, not the text with its meaning, simply the font – to communicate with the viewers, but it certainly does. Different font styles will psychologically impact every individual in a different manner. Therefore, it is crucial to try your best to convey a similar tone to everyone. For instance, Arial font would not impact people as emotionally as Comic Sans would.
Once you are certain that your selected font is easy to read, conveys the message with a fitting tone, and impacts individuals just as you want, it is time to get to the favorite element of most designers: font design.
For some, typography is what’s pasted on the design to provide information. However, the others realize that typography is design in itself.
There are several fonts: short, tall, bold, regular, skinny, wide, and etc, while designing a logo, it is essential to ensure that amongst these fonts, you select the one that aligns with the color, brand voice, and overall tone you want to convey through the logo. Without a well-thought font selection, your logo is art, not a message from a brand. Furthermore, to ensure that there are no awkward spaces, consider factors such as point size, kerning, justification, and leading.
Font Characteristics and Logo Design
Okay, we know that fonts play essential roles in conveying messages and impacting the behaviors and feelings of individuals. But to leverage that knowledge to its fullest, we must understand how each font characteristic affects the design of a logo.
Both the types of corners in typography: Sharp (such as V, N, M, Y) and Round (such as T, E, F, H) have the power to hold the attention of viewers. Nonetheless, historically proven, people notice corners more than curves – a skill developed during human evolution to stay safe from branches and stones. However, corners can also act as visual irritants. Thus, a combination of two, rounded corners, is a creative and effective way to go while designing logos for companies that wish to provide a sense of safety. For instance, toddler products-based companies.
In typography, each letter is worked by a mathematical recipe. In any case, this equation has various implications for the capacity and character of a textual style. For instance, in fancy typefaces that emulate penmanship (smears, paint brush strokes), the calculation is dismissed, and their structure is unconstrained. Be that as it may, the most universally useful textual styles made since the creation of printing are very much aligned and have either humanistic or mathematical extents. Based on the same, this calls for attention to geometrical elements of fonts for designing a logo.
Shapes and Parallelity
When it comes to selecting a font for logos, one of the most overlooked and underrated elements is parallelity. A segment/line which is not parallel to the other, gives the font a more dynamic look, as compared to the lines which are parallel to each other. One of the most universally used fonts, Helvetica, has parallelity in check. Which is now picked by thousands of designers looking for a modern and clean typeface. This hidden font characteristic can provide a lot to the surface of how the font looks and impacts the viewer. While a straight face, vertically parallel font type will represent orderliness, the italic, the less parallel font might hint approachability.
Font weight is now one of the most-known aspects which people – including viewers – notice. For most font families, there are three font weights: light, regular, and bold. If your logo design has the company’s name in its entirety, you might want to stick with regular font weight as it is not affected by sharpness, optical twist, and is best suitable for reading. Nonetheless, light and bold font weights have their way around communicating emotions in a more extreme and clear way. While the light font might not turn out great at catching a viewer’s eye, it is certainly pleasant to look at. On the contrary, bold font-weight is not pleasant or easy to read, but it will make sure to be persistent at holding viewers’ attention.
On the outside, the font design affects individuals based on optics, preferences, and history. However, with the above-mentioned font characteristics in check, a logo designer can encourage and influence viewers to notice and remember the logo beyond its design.
Best Fonts for an Impactful Logo Design
While there is no “correct” typography design, there are some which will work better than the others. Based on the above factors and font characteristics, you can pick up a well-considered font style. Nevertheless, to add to the suggestions, here are some of the fonts which will help smooth your entire font selection process.
Yes, Helvetica is one of the most omnipresent font styles. However, it is, even more, the reason to move to a newer and more modern font style with similar ubiquitous ingredients embedded. Providing 3 different sizes, and 48 fonts, Helvetica Now is an enhanced version of Helvetica – a clearer, simpler, and more neutral variant. Brands such as Panasonic and American Airlines have been rocking the Helvetica Now font, inspiring upcoming brands to adopt the same.
Created in the 16th century by Claude Garamond, this font style comes with an organic structure to represent the professionalism expected out of a logo. Whereas, to give the logo a more breezy look, this font resembles typography similar to hand lettering with a pen – in an upright manner, of course. Getting its fame from Paris World’s Fair nominations, the font has an entirely highlighted effect on capital letters. If you plan your logo to not be a hurdle during any rebranding process, Garamond is the perfect font style for you.
For designers searching for a font providing various weight options, with several weights: thin, light, regular, medium, bold, and black, Brandon Grotesque fits the requirement like a glove. Most noticeably seen on Comedy Central branding, this font can work wonders for logos to be placed digitally and on packages as well. Designed by Hannes Von Dӧhren with a hint of warmth and conciseness, Brandon Grotesque stands apart from the famous sans-serifs.
With a family package option and 12 font styles, this font brings the in-demand contemporary look to the table. Giving you a wide range to express emotions through font styles, Cera Pro comes in 6 weights. This font not only gives a minimalistic and simplistic look but also keeps geometry in check. Also, to prescribe font style digitally, it has OpenType features along with 80 glyphs each weight.
The bestselling typeface of FontFont, FF Din, has an astonishing set of 20 weights for the font. Taking the use of geometry to an intensified level, the font has nuanced curves and ovals which never fail to give a pleasant and appealing look to the entire design. Ranging from Light to Black, in condensed and normal styles, the font offers features such as super and subscript characters, fractions, case-sensitive formats, and entirely different and rounded alternatives.
Bringing the idea of a consistent font family to the table, Frutiger, the designer of the font, did not get the appeal of geometry embedded into fonts. Thus, he created Univers to offer a font that avoids geometry at its rigidness and is simply a combination of thick and thin strokes. The effectiveness of this font is proven by logos of companies such as FedEx, a combination of Univers 67 and Futura Bold, and eBay, with noticeable yet subtle nuances in the strokes of the font. Considered as one of the best achievements of the 20th century, in the field of typography, this font aligns its properties with its name, giving all designers a font for universal application.
The successor of Proxima Sans (unavailable as of now), this font is an umbrella covering 48 styles, all a perfect combination of modern design and geometry. Offering a wide range of weights and features, the font is known to be amongst the leading font styles for logo design. Through the approach of blending humanistic characteristics and geometrical methodologies behind its design, this font is now taking over the world. Some of the companies using Proxima Nova for their logos are Spotify and Bosh, with Buzzfeed, Mashable, and NBC News leveraging the perfectly shaped letters via their websites.
Entirely suitable for graphic design, a logo with Gilroy font can go hand-in-hand with other graphics for editorial design. Moreover, to align it with the modern design, the font comes with strong OpenType features. Covering 20 styles and 10 weights (with matching italics) under its wing, Gilroy has Light and Extra Bold weights available on the internet for no cost whatsoever. If your logo is meant for a company under a rebranding, aligning all corporate designs with Gilroy font is a tried-and-tested way to go.
Font Style, Logo Design, and Everything Else
Similar to the other elements of design and branding, selecting a font must be in alignment with client requirements, brand voice, and the target market. Thus, once you have decided which font to use for your logo design, ensuring that it checks the following questions will help you put your best foot forward:
What’s the tone of the brand associated with your logo design?
A logo for a toddler products-based company and an IT firm has to be as different as chalk and cheese. A part of that is making sure that the selected font is representative of the tone and objectives of the company. Along with the same, to give everything an altogether look, you can select a font that is similar to the font styles that the company uses currently; unless the clients are ready for a change.
What is the target demographic?
While you will probably get a design brief that will help you with understanding the company’s target market, it is advisable to do a bit of research on the same from your end as well. If the company targets the elderly, then you probably cannot simply move with trending fonts. On the other hand, if the target market consists of youth, then it will become important to stand apart from the crowd but in a non-obvious manner with minimalistic designs.
What is the range of purpose(s) of the logo?
You intend your logo design to find a window of opportunity to catch viewers’ attention, and that will be impossible to presume without knowing the purpose of the logo. Is the company simply starting and needs the logo for a website? Will the logo be placed on product packaging? For instance, if your logo will be placed on hoardings and billboards, you might want to pick a font style that is readable over anything else.
All the letters, styles, weights, punctuation, and space matter while selecting a font for the logo designing process. You may consider the process of selecting font as a part of exact science or depend entirely on your creative instinct, or perhaps, a combination of the two. In any case, it is important to come up with your own filtering and selecting processes concerning the font designs for your logos. Not only will it help you apply the above-mentioned pointers into your designing process, but will also help you understand what works for you and what does not. Furthermore, adding a layer of consistency in your design, which will help people associate your designs with you as a designer, and not just with the company.
Head of Design at DesignBro and is responsible for UI/UX Design, managing the global designer community, and ensuring quality levels of both designers and designs remain high.