I LOVE talking about fonts because very few people realize the full power of typography to transform the look, feel and experience of your business…
Some of you may know the famous story Steve Jobs tells of studying calligraphy at Reed College, which at the time had the best calligraphy department in the country:
“Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed…I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture.”
“When we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”
You see before the Mac computers just used a single typeface. Fonts were functional. They weren’t seen as something that could add to the user experience.
And for most people, fonts still are primarily a functional way to display written content. And most people can only name a handful of fonts: Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica and perhaps a few more.
Now I wish I had time to do a full training on typography here, but we have a lot to cover so I’m going to focus on what I call your font palette.
Your font palette are the 3-4 branded fonts that you use consistently across every web page you create, as well as all your other materials.
So the right font palette not only adds to your company’s brand, but it can actually increase your conversions by calling attention to exactly what you want your visitors to focus on.
FYI, I show you a really ninja way to do this in the training video above (as well as many more visual examples that aren’t in the written version of this post, so I really recommend you watch the video).
Let me walk you through the 3-4 fonts that make up your font palette (I recommend watching the video training above to see examples of each of these font types):
- First of all you have your logo font. Or the font you use to depict your company name or, if you have a personal brand, your name.
- Next we have header and title fonts, that may or may not be the same as your logo font. If you use a fancy, script or serif logo font, I would recommend using something simpler and cleaner for your header and title fonts.Since your headers and titles are the most important copy on your web pages, you want these to be as clear and eye-catching as possible. The right headline can double or triple conversions, especially if it’s emphasized by a font font that calls attention to it.
- Next up we have your body copy. Or the font you use for the rest of your copy throughout your website. You want this to be as clear and legible as possible. And you want to stay completely away from script and serif fonts here.You really this font to go under the radar. People aren’t supposed to notice the font choice of your body copy, you want them to read that copy, right? But I do recommend keeping it 100% consistent across everything you do.
- Finally, our last font. This is something very few people know about or implement. This is what we call your “accent font”. This font can be a bit more playful, distinct or branded to your business.Since accent fonts are used to create visual emphasis, it’s common to choose a hand-written or script font here. This allows you to use your accent font as a visual prompt to call attention to buttons, important text, or to divide sections of your website.
Now here’s where it gets really ninja…
You’ve probably heard that once you’ve established your visual brand identity, it’s really important to repeat the same visual branding elements over and over so people start to recognize your materials pretty much instantly at a glance.
We’ve done this really well across our businesses, so you can quickly recognize Superhero Summits materials or Live Your Message materials.
Once you’ve chosen your font palette, it’s time to rinse and repeat.
Here’s a page from the Brand Book we give each of our Agency customers. You see, it defines each of the fonts in your palette, so you can share these specifications with anyone who joins your team or creates materials for you.
A Brand Book or Style Guide makes it easy for you to maintain consistency across your platform and materials so you get that instant brand recognition that separates you from 99% of your competitors and instantly makes you look like the real deal.
I don’t have time in this article now to go through the rest of this Brand Book, but when you’re ready to get serious about your brand, I also recommend choosing a branded color palette, creating a custom logo, and defining the style of imagery you want to use. All that will go into your Brand Book too.
Tell me, what’s your favorite font?