Typography: The New High-Impact Image

When fleshing out ideas for your brand, try unique type applications to make things memorable in a good way.

Letters made from copper arranged in a strange way

As a designer by trade, one of the most exciting parts of my job is using typography to set the tone for a project I’m working on.  The growing possibilities for type usage these days are very different from the web of yesteryear.  Back then, we were printing out encylopedia topics on our dot-matrix, and nobody questioned whether custom fonts could really be used for much else than an awkward accent piece.

Visual typography matters.

Like all great process evolutions, someone finally did question these things. The idea that we could actually create meaningful AND visually appealing content for the web began to materialize.  We didn’t think of the web as something that could affect how we felt just by looking at it.  But the problem quickly became this: we weren’t just searching for encyclopedia topics to print out anymore; we were searching for interaction, and with that came new responsibilities with design and type.  We began realizing that if we were going to use the internet as a full experience for sales, services, and other interaction, the feeling users get when they visit a website really matters.  It is everything in the way people perceive your brand, the way they interact with your site, and the user experience as a whole.

This can apply both online and off. I have turned my nose up recently to more than one product simply because of their new branding. I may be crazy, but if Sally Hansen wants to sell me beauty tools, it can’t be branded in a Museo font with quirky titles. I want to see the traditional packaging I am used to, a font that I trust. Another great example is the rebranding of GE appliances – they did a total overhaul and are now using a modern, humanist typeface that is easy to read and simple, but I don’t trust the font. It does not convey strength or experience, and frankly when used on the appliances themselves, it looks a bit cheap. These are just a couple. I oftentimes see packaging and wonder what made me buy it or not.  The application of type is one of the most convincing tools in creating this sensory experience for users.  This carries over onto the web and is even more powerful because it can turn you off from an entire company.

The positive power of type branding is sometimes so great that it can make me purchase a snakeskin laptop case or neon shoes. It can invite me in and soothe me to sleep with a story I can easily read on my phone.  And it can certainly show me one big powerful message about a company I know nothing about, and automatically make me feel happy and secure just by glancing at their home page.

We now have a mobile and cross-platform information vehicle, capable of delivering millions of types of content over hundreds of devices. With the need for images to be easier to scale down and many times eliminate for mobile, well-purposed type can be just as powerful as imagery.  If font-faces in branding evoke feelings that you don’t trust or can’t relate to, you’ll go somewhere else just to get the visual affirmation you’re looking for.

When fleshing out ideas for your brand, try unique type applications to make things memorable in a good way.  Study fonts.  Consult with an expert on web compatibility.  Check and double check what kind of visual feel that the fonts in your marketing pieces are generating.  Make your visual presence a beautiful and meaningful one.



About Joy

Joy takes a holistic approach to life. She’s most likely to snack on nuts and berries, to spend her weekends hiking and biking, or sneak in a yoga class over lunch. Joy believes that music matters, self-care is important, and a well-rounded approach is usually best — she applies that strategy to website design as well, creating careful, thoughtful designs where user experience is paramount. When she’s not debating over fonts and color selections at her computer, Joy likes hanging out with her kids, baking (we love when she brings her creations to work) and posting Instagram vacation photos that are the envy of the office.

See more articles from Joy Sandlin

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