Font design matters
I was just reading an article on famous font designers (posted by Andy Fuller of Design Bull and written by Creative Bloq). It was a treat and took me back to my graphic designing days in the 90s.
I loved fonts (and still do) and I know how they can add an emotional connection to a brand.
I also know they can help clarify exactly what it is you're selling, so get that wrong and you might be sending out the wrong message at the wrong point in the sales cycle.
How fonts fit in with customer journey
So those of you that know me know that I love a profit leak* or two and I'm about to talk about them here again. Profit Leaks are gaps in your marketing that are not adequately supporting the customer journey, or not supporting it at all.
Where I am licensed at Watertight Marketing we believe that all business could have up to thirteen profit leaks.
With that in mind I want to explore how something as simple as fonts fits into marketing and how they can influencing the buying decision. Specifically, I want to talk about Leak 12 'What' (up in there in the AWARENESS step of the customer journey) and Leak 3 'No Emotional Connection' (down in ADOPTION).
Does your brand font help clarify your proposition?
In other words, do you have an absolute clarity of purpose in telling people what your business does (i.e. the 'What'? - Leak 12)
So you have a logo and a strapline, some great copy and imagery, and even an elevator pitch. But does the font that you use in your materials represent your brand properly or accurately? How many times have you seen the font 'comic sans' used in serious businesses communications. Not good (unless you are a comic I suppose).
Again, anyone that knows me knows I also bound around a quote from one of my favourite films quite a lot - 'The Last Emperor'. It goes 'If you don't say what you mean, you won't mean what you say' and it works visually too.
This article from Bristol's Six Agency shows us how fonts influence people, and gives us some great visual examples how type faces can make people think or feel differently about a product or service. Another great read if you have time.
Does your brand font add emotional connection?
In other words, does your visual and written style have a personal touch that’s friendly and allows people to make an emotional connection with your business (Leak 13 - No Emotional Connection)?
This is really all about corporate and visual identity, particularly your brand identity. Picking the wrong type face for your logo, your website and your marketing materials (including internal documents) can give the wrong impression, or incorrectly portray your personality. Fonts are that powerful. This example illustrates how a font can greatly change the meaning of a word or words. Clever.
When picking the fonts to use in your business, make sure you cover all bases. Ensure you've looked at which fonts you're using in all these activities:
- Brand (logo and app/web fonts etc).
- All sales, PR and marketing/advertising materials (and not just brochures - include invoices, proposals and quotes for example too).
- All service delivery documents whether internally and/or externally-facing.
- Signage and exhibition materials etc.
- Email templates and social media post imagery.
Check the legals
Please also bear in mind that many fonts are licensed products. Someone's intellectual property and you may need a licence to use them on and offline (a bit like library stock shots). However, there are free fonts available on the web for us in all kinds of applications, so make sure your print and digital designer makes you aware of them.
I think many people may think fonts are 'just there' and probably don't give much thought as to how they actually 'got there' (how or why they were designed and by who). I also think it's so easy to reach for a standard font these days, no my advise would be that no matter what the material you are producing, stand back and take a little more time choosing your fonts. You could actually be plugging a profit leak.