So you want to DIY your brand until you can afford to hire someone to help, but you just can’t seem to get your fonts right.
Well for one, I think, this is a smart way to get started with your business. So many things change when you first get started with your business that things are more fluid and less solidified. This is all a part of the process.
As you start working on your business and learning more about what direction you really do want to take you’ll have the flexibility to make adjustments and changes. So in a sense, it is really smart to hold off on hiring to design your branding until you have a clearer vision of what the basics of your branding are.
But until then let’s talk about a part of branding and design in general that people often make mistakes using fonts for their business. Luckily with a few pieces of information, you can successfully avoid making these same mistakes.
Let’s talk about the 10 mistakes every newbie makes with fonts and what you can do to fix the problem now.
- They use too many fonts. Use 1-2 fonts with a max of 3 for everything that you create for your business. Just because you're making a quote for one piece of content and then a blog promo for another doesn’t mean that they need different fonts on every piece. Pick 1 - 2 fonts and use them on all of your content and your website. Not to mention you lose out on all the recognition you could have for your content if you are constantly changing fonts.
- Consider the personality. Fonts have different personalities so choose them according to your brand personality. Is your brand personality big and bold? Is it more subdued and classic? Modern and luxurious? I guarantee there is a font to match. Spend some time reviewing Google Fonts or Font Squirrels for inspiration.
- Pairing fonts successfully. For pairing fonts look for contrast think thick/thin short/tall decorative/clean. To get some inspiration on fonts that pair well together check out Pinterest. Just make sure you read the license agreements before downloading and using any fonts you find on your search.
- If you are struggling to make it work with multiple fonts choose one font with lots of variations. Then use one font for all of your branding material. Use the different variations to create visual hierarchy and interest all while staying simple and streamlined.
- For simple elegant combination pair a serif font with a sans-serif font. Serif means it has what we call feet. And the sans serifs do not. Typically they work together to look elegant and gorgeous.
- Steer clear of fonts that are overused like Comic Sans, Papyrus, or Trajan Pro. Just no. Trust me. If you want to stand out and be taken seriously choose fonts that others don’t use or fonts that are used too much.
- Never use blue text on a red background… ever! Be very careful of how you use different colors for the fonts and for the background. You want to make sure it is clear and legible. If there isn’t enough contrast or you make it hard to read you’ll just give everyone a headache and wonder why your designs aren’t looking professional?
- Reverse type (light color font on a dark color background) is good for heading and buttons not long blocks of text. Use these blocks of color strategically in your content to drive people with calls to action or opt-in buttons. Don’t use them for big blocks of text in your copy.
- Use all uppercase text sparingly because it becomes hard to read as big blocks of text. We read by understanding shapes and patterns and when you use all caps for all of your text every word becomes a rectangle. You loose the shapes of the letters and the patterns that we’ve come to recognize as words.
- Don’t combine two similar fonts. If you have a serif combine it with something different not another serif font. The lack of contrast will look sloppy.
Once you’ve identified the fonts you want to use for your business do whatever it takes to stay consistent with them. If you need to write their names down on a post-it-note then do that, or better yet make a style guide for your business where you keep all that information. Along with what sizes you use for headings, what style you use for different situations, and what you use for buttons/calls to actions on your website.
In fact, I encourage you to make this document this makes it easy for you to stay consistent, hand over the information to a VA or designer when they are helping you create materials for your business, and give you one spot to reference when you create your next promo image.
It may feel like you’re not being as creative as you were when you were using all the fonts but that repetitive element in your graphics and visuals will help you build recognition for your business.
How awesome would it be to hear “I saw that image and I just knew it was yours!”
That’s the result we are all hoping for when we put anything out into the world. We want people to connect it back to us. And even though what font you use may seem like an insignificant decision you have to make it is one of the most fundamental to your success of building recognition and standing out online!
Let me know in the comments: What is your #1 struggle with using fonts for your business materials?
Michaela Hoffman is a brand designer, web developer, and content marketer for online service providers who want to create a lead generating online presence. She helps women who are struggling to gain visibility online build a strong and cohesive web presence that attracts their dream clients through personalized consulting that focuses on strategy and action.