A font’s role in a brand

A font’s role in a brand

We like to talk about the value of messaging, personality and emotion in a successful brand. When all these elements are developed to reflect the personality of the organization, we give it “two thumbs up”.

Within the sub layers of a brand, other components can have starring roles, and this is where fonts have a part to play – either as a leading character or as supporting cast. A recent SNL skit aired a parody on the use of Papyrus font. While this is hilarious to view, it definitely provides food for thought.

Some fonts we see everyday are just part of the landscape, conveying certain qualities and characteristics. When these fonts are the only element in a company’s logo (and there are many examples of this with large corporations), there is nothing else to soften the blow visually, by diverting attention, especially if the font is ‘bad’. So the traits become an important part of the brand identity.

A recent change in ownership of our local telco helps to illustrate this point. The MTS logo was shed from every branded application and replaced by the new BellMTS identity.  The royal blue, bold italic sans serif font is now part of the past (for me, it will not be missed). I always thought its use on marketing and advertising material brought down the overall image of the company, no matter how well the creative for the campaigns had been executed. In a scenario such as this one, typography can be associated with a style held over from decades ago, and if a corporation fails over the years to keep up its visual identity with evolving company values and services, the result will be less than shining. In any case, the new BellMTS logo is an improvement, more contemporary, and will last through the transition years until its next iteration.

Ask yourself… do you need to update your company’s logo/font periodically? The answer is yes! How often depends on what you’re stuck with, and of course, how it fits into your overall brand picture.