What’s your type?

29 June 2022 | 4 min read | Digital
Kirsty Hall
Kirsty Hall

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section” _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]

Everyone knows not to judge a book by its cover – we’re supposed to read the words inside and let the language lead us. While a lovely metaphorical sentiment, most designers I know would disagree.

Of course, choosing the right word is certainly important; we’re all familiar with that horrible sensation of pondering over exactly the right word to create the intended meaning for a piece of writing. But how much thought do you put into the way the words look on screen?  

Typefaces are an essential and often overlooked aspect of design. Like colour, different typefaces can have various effects, and hence should be chosen carefully and consciously.

The correct typeface can reinforce your brand, increase engagement, and aid with accessibility. Most importantly, you need make sure your type is legible and that people can actually read what you have to say.  

First, let’s clear up some confusion.

What’s the difference between a typeface and a font? A typeface is simply a family of fonts. While Arial is a typeface, Arial Bold is a font, although these terms are becoming interchangeable in modern discourse.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src=”https://www.clearlypr.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/MicrosoftTeams-image-68.png” title_text=”typeface” _builder_version=”4.6.5″ _module_preset=”default”][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]

There are many different classifications of fonts, but for now let’s stick to the basics.

Serif fonts 

Serif fonts, like Times New Roman and Baskerville, are fonts with decorative strokes (serifs) attached to the letters. They are more traditional and evoke sophistication and formality, and hence are more suitable for corporate designs. Naturally, serif fonts are quick to read and so are often used in books and newspapers. 

Sans serif fonts 

Sans serif fonts, such as Futura and Arial, are those with no strokes (literally ‘without serifs’) and are more geometric in shape. They rose to popularity from the mid nineteenth-century and are associated with modernity and innovation and, as such, they are a popular choice for tech companies and start-ups. They are also scalable and hence work well in digital settings as they read well on-screen.  

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src=”https://www.clearlypr.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/MicrosoftTeams-image-67.png” title_text=”font-types” _builder_version=”4.6.5″ _module_preset=”default”][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.27.4″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]

So, which is better for accessibility?   

Sadly, it’s not that simple; accessible typeface design must be considered contextually to be a success. Although we all laugh in the face of Comic Sans, for those learning to read, the simple shapes of a sans serif typeface can aid with recognising characters. On the flip side, however, serif fonts provide a fluidity of reading for advanced readers.  

Despite this, there are some general rules to remember when choosing your typeface to ensure they are accessible for all. 

Firstly, it’s important to make sure that letters are easily distinguishable from one another. ‘Imposter letters’ are those that can be easily mistaken for each other in certain typefaces –   such as a lower case ‘l’, a lower case ‘i’ and the number ‘1’.

Similarly, letters that are easily mirrored (such as ‘d’ ‘b’ ‘p’ ‘q’) can be confusing to some when they are used in a typeface that doesn’t have unique shapes. You also need to ensure that your typeface has sufficient letter spacing, for example, an ‘r’ and ‘n’ placed together in the wrong font can easily be mistaken for an ‘m’.  

Ultimately, context is key when choosing your typeface. Consider your audience –  who are they and where will they be reading your work? What do you want your brand to convey? It’s the answers to these questions that should guide your choice of typeface, and heavily influence the way in which your brand is perceived by your target audience. 

If you want to ensure that your brand is truly reflective of your business, we can help. Simply get in touch with us to find out how we can best support you.