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Typography and branding – a crucial part in building your brand image. It is not only about what fonts are used in the logo, but also the font/s used in the corporate identity.

Just like all elements of a corporate identity, fonts influence your customers’ perception of your brand. It is a key element in a visual identity and needs to align with the brand strategy, personality and values.

typography branding

Typography and branding – what you need to know when choosing typography for your brand

Typography and branding influences how people experience a brand, the visual experience. Positive experiences form positive connotations to that brand. Just as bad ones will create bad connotations, and bad ones we tend to remember more. That’s why it’s important to give positive experiences, consistently, repeatedly.

Just like colours, imagery or layout treatments, typography is an important part of a visual identity that gives life to your brand. Typography gives connotations to what your brand stands for and what its personality is, whether it is modern and clean or classic for example.

A brands typography and font usage needs to be aligned with your brands personality and values. Every typeface has its own unique traits and fonts have their own personalities. So when choosing your fonts, think about ‘How does the typography make me feel?’ ‘What tone does it set?’

Brand font usage can also help build brand recognition. A memorable and distinct typeface can help make the brand instantly recognisable.

Creating a unique expression at that essential level of communication is extremely powerful. It can be a big asset for brands to stand out, and it enables them to use a unique voice in their visual communication.

Lukas PaltramDalton Maag via Creativebloq
font quote

Difference between a font and a typeface

The difference between a font and a typeface is that a typeface (such as Helvetica) is the name of a collection of fonts, while a font refers to a specific weight, width, and style within that typeface (such as Helvetica Regular, bold, Light etc.). A typeface like Helvetica will consist of a whole collection of fonts.

When defining your brand identity, knowing your typeface and font usage is critical.

typography branding

8 font categories

The main categories for font types can be classified like this:


Serif fonts have extra features or strokes at the end of letters. Serif fonts are often perceived as classical, trustworthy and reliable. Example: Times New Roman.

serif typography


‘Sans’ means ‘without, and sans-serif fonts have letters without serifs and are often described as minimal and contemporary. Example: Arial.

sans serif font

Slab serif

Slab serif is a cousin of Serif fonts, but with larger, heavier and more obvious serifs. Example: Rockwell.

slab serif font


A script font has cursive lettering, often with strokes that joint letters together, and often with decorative flourishes.

script font


Handwritten fonts are similar to a script font by mimicking handwriting, however handwritten fonts often don’t have the structure or joining of letters like a traditional script has.

handwritten font


This is the largest category as it is also the most diverse. A decorative font can be playful, casual, sophisticated, urban, etc., and can be a serif, sans-serif, slab serif, script and so on. It can be reflective of a culture aspect, such as graffiti, be emotive and full of personality, and as such is often used as a graphic element rather than text.

decorative display font


Blackletter, sometimes referred to as Gothic or Old English, are scripts from the middle ages. The characters have dense, dark, textured characteristics with decorative caps. The lowercase consists of narrow, angular forms with dramatic thick-to-thin strokes and serifs.

blackletter font


A monospace font has letters and characters that each occupies the same amount of horizontal space. Monospaced fonts have a computer like feel, and was common on typewriters and computer terminals. Example: Courier

monospace font

Print vs. web fonts

There was a time when each letter was made into a metal block and typeset for the printing press. This is how we read things back in the day. Today, most printing is done either with digital printing machines or litho (using printing plates). However, most of us don’t even interact that much with printed materials anymore. We mostly read on our phones or computers. So how does this effect fonts and font usage for brands? Well, fonts need to be considered based on how they are being used, whether they are to be viewed on screen or on paper. Some fonts don’t come with a web version, which means you would need to specify a substitute.

Substitute fonts for cross-platform applications

There are instances where you would need to use a safe cross-platform font. This means specifying what font to use for instance when emailing, or sharing editable documents such as Word or PowerPoint, to someone you are not sure will have the same fonts installed as you.

There are certain standard fonts that are installed on both Window and MacOS, and these are generally seen as ‘safe’ fonts. These are typefaces such as Verdana, Arial, Times new roman, Impact, Courier new, Georgia etc.


When it comes to font sourcing, you have three options; licenced fonts, open source free fonts and custom typography. The free and open-source libraries such as Font library, Font Squirrel and Google Fonts, offer many fonts both for print and web-use. Paid licenced fonts gives you more options, and more specific fonts, that you can’t get for free. However you will need to be aware of the different licensing fees, depending on the different platforms you will be using such as print, apps, web etc. and you will need to obtain a separate licence for each, which can become costly. Custom typography is the most expensive option but will set you apart from competitors and give your brand a unique identity that is truly reflective of the brands personality and values. Pretty much all big brands have their own custom typefaces – something to aspire to.

Typography terms explained

When working with typography, and not just in branding, but in all graphic design instances, there are a couple of terms that are commonly used:


Case refers to the capitalisation of characters in a word or a phrase. The different types are: Uppercase – using all capital letters in a word. Lowercase – using small letters in a word. Sentence case –capitalise the first letter of a sentence. Title case –all words are capitalized except for “minor” words unless they are the first or last word in the title.


Spacing refers to the vertical and horizontal spaces between characters. The different types of spacing are: Kerning – adjusting the space between letters in the same word. Tracking – adjusting the spacing over a given selection of text, not just one word. Leading – adjusting the vertical space between two lines of text.


Typographic hierarchy is in essence organising type to establish order of importance. Using different typefaces, fonts, weights, cases and sizes can do this.


X-height refers to the distance between the baseline and the mean line of lower-case letters in a typeface, typically, this is the height of the letter ‘x’ in a font.

Ascender / Descender

The ascender is the portion of a lowercase letter that extends above the mean line of a font. The descender is the portion of a letter that extends below the baseline of a font.

Orphans / Widows

Widows and orphans are lines of text at the beginning or end of a paragraph, which are left alone at the top or bottom of a page or column, separated from the rest of the text. An orphan is a single word or short line of text that appears by itself at the bottom of a page or column. A widow is a paragraph-ending line that falls at the beginning of the following page or column, separated from the rest of the text.

Lorem Ipsum

Lorem ipsum is placeholder text commonly used by the design industry. It is used to demonstrate a document or a typeface without relying on final copy.

The above are some common terms you may have heard, but it really is just scratching the surface. If you’re interested to learn more visit FontShop for a full glossary.

We offer different options when it comes to branding, but our process follows similar steps. If you are looking to create a corporate identity or rebranding a product or service, get in touch today and we’ll be happy to chat through our process and options.