The Psychology of Fonts for Logos (and beyond)
Yes, there is a psychology of fonts. I know that might seem a bit far-fetched – but the font you use affects the experience of the person reading it. At Start Digital we’re proud to call ourselves Font Freaks. We know the impact a good font can make.
In this article we’re going to primarily look at Logo fonts. Your logo reflects your brand. If it contains words, the font is going to need to be clearly constructed. It’s not all about the logo. The psychology of fonts and the impact they have on a reader can be applied to the body text or headlines of other business branded materials such as business cards and letterheads and your website. We encourage our clients to be brave in their font choices.
There are a few rules when choosing a font, which we will go through shortly. Some of this is related to our historical perception of font, like in newspaper prints, and some are more recent like daily exposure to fonts used on platforms like Facebook. How we respond to a font is also strongly tied to our trust and perception.
The font you choose affects how consumers experience of your business and brand. Getting it correct plays a pivotal role in creating a strong brand identity and avoiding feelings of discomfort or detachment for your audience.
If you don’t know what typography is, try thinking digital calligraphy. It’s the font type, the shape and form of the letters
Different fonts convey different messages for us psychologically.
There are four main types of font and these are called typefaces. It might help to think of these as families. These families have many children and each child has a pretty name, like ‘Lucida’ or ‘Arial’ or ‘New Times Roman’ (ok that one’s not so pretty).
To give you a clearer idea of what we’re talking about, briefly look at the four typefaces below. We’ve added some of the names of their ‘children’ that you may be familiar with and a well-known brand so you can relate this to a logo.
Description: flowing, curves and resembles handwriting
Example fonts: Lucinda, Sofia, Pacifico
Script is associated with femininity, elegance, creativity
Used if you are a creative company or have females as your audience.
Avoid in corporate business
Description: Old typeface, letters have tags on. Serif has an off spin called Slab Serif
Example fonts: Baskerville, Times New Roman, Georgia
Serif demonstrates authority, grandeur and tradition
Use if you are a body of authority, in research, news or education
Avoid in health, beauty, creative and fun.
Description: Sans literally means without. These letters are without any tags.
Example fonts: Arial, Calibri, Helvetica
Sans serif is clean, stable, and modern – eBay rebranded to san serif as did Google
Use if you are modern, serious, corporate, business
Don’t use. There aren’t many places sans serif doesn’t have a place
Description: Created font, different from any other typeface – often found in logo’s rather than body text
Example fonts: Jokerman, bombing, Gigi
Use if you want to personalise your brand. It can fit into any niche as long as it suits the brand aims, for example, the Disney font is playful.
Don’t use if you are not confident that your logo reflects your brand expertise
Brand logos should also consider spacing, colour and shape and often sometimes have a hidden message
Look closely at the FedEx logo – note how there is a little arrow formed from the E and the X in the empty space. Even empty space can be considered as part of a logo.
Then there are the fonts that are inventive like Pez sweets. They use the image of their sweet shape to make up their logo.
Take homes when thinking about your logo font
- Get to know your target audience. For instance, dynamic fonts are good for teens and young adults. Adult professionals may prefer modern and sans serif fonts. If your audience is female, you may want to consider script font.
- Before you start designing the logo and deciding a font for your business materials, give your brand a personality trait that is in line with your business message. Is it funny, serious, witty, charming, wise? Try selecting a font that is in line with this.
- You could consider using a font that your audience will be familiar with or already trust for instance if they’re on Facebook a lot, you could consider using a similar font.
- Be brave, don’t be afraid to try a display font if it suits your brand. At Start Digital we have a graphic design service. We can brainstorm everything with you including fonts.
- When picking a font for your brand and marketing material and websites think about the type of business you have and how this might be reflected in the size, colour, shape and empty space of the design
Font psychology is an important element of your business brand and image. Don’t be afraid to make an impact and keep in tune with this across all of your business materials. We encourage our clients to be adventurous with font. If in doubt, let one of our Font Freaks help you. If you need some inspiration, take a look at some of our favourite fonts