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The Holy Matrimony of Font Pairing

The Holy Matrimony of Font Pairing

Whether you refer to them as typefaces (the correct term for a family of fonts) or fonts (the individual members of a typeface), everywhere you look, type is around us. Billboards, road signs, car registration plates, restaurant menus, newspapers…. it influences us significantly in our day to day lives. Ever since Johann Guttenberg invented movable type in the 15th century to give the world a cheaper way to obtain the written word, the variations available to us have exploded and today there are at least 60,000 professional font families obtainable for commercial use. Since the birth of the digital age and the internet, the emergence and growth of available free fonts is only increasing the possibilities of use.

So what is the benefit of having so much choice? Well as with colour in branding (see The Psychological Effects of Colour in Design) where colour usage can provoke different emotional responses, typefaces also express a mood and give words personality. They help to create a face for your brand, leading to consumer response and enabling better audience communication. Take a look at the examples below and think about the way each of them make you feel. You can instantly recognise that they are all specifically suited for a certain purpose.

Why Pair Fonts?

Think of a font like a person. Individually it is functional and communicative. But as a pair, just like in marriage, combined correctly they bring chemistry and compliment each other. Their individual personalities can be used to represent an emotion you want to provoke that you relate to your brand. So it is important to choose wisely; if your message isn’t aligned to your target audience, then they’re just no that into you.

The Primary Font Categories

Serif

A serif is a typeface with a small projection at the end of the letter strikes

Sans Serif

A sans serif is a typeface without any stroke embellishments or detail.

Slab Serif

A slab serif is a typeface that’s identified by its thick, clock-like serifs.

Script

A script typeface links together letter-to-letter, they are best saved for headings and display.

Handwritten

A handwritten typeface is one which resembles the freeform of handwriting.

What Makes a Good Font Pairing?

Finding font parings that set each other off, don’t fight each other for attention and harmonise without becoming dull is no small task but it’s what will help to ensure longevity of your brand. Two fonts that can grow old gracefully together, still standing strong whilst the brand they were build upon evolves and grows… is a match made in heaven. But with so many available to choose from, what should you be looking for in the search for the perfect marriage?

Many fonts have distinct personalities so you want to make sure the moods of your font choices match the purpose of your design. Ensure they share the same relationship. If the uniting appears random, it’s going to evoke a feeling of discord.

In the world of typefaces, contrast tends to be homogenous. As can be the case with our own personalities, blending the introverted with the extroverted can generate balance. So finding one with a big personality can actually create chemistry with another that is simple, understated and reserved. It is also important to define a hierarchy with your fonts as a fight over supremacy is only going to have negative consequences. Whilst you may only be looking at a two tier hierarchy, define your alpha font that is complimented by the second font instead of being in competition with it.

What to Avoid

Whilst using the same font in different emphasis, weights and sizes is a recommended approach, this is not the same as using two different fonts from the same style. For example, using Garamond Bold and Garamond Regular works well as they are complimentary to each other but using script fonts from completely different font families is going to break up the harmony. You also needs to carefully consider what it is you are branding to determine what typeface is appropriate. In order to make good font choices for your brand, you must have a clear idea of the message you want to deliver to its audience. For example, a slab serif may not be the best choice for an elegant jewellers and you may have better options than a script for a children’s entertainer. Fonts are not just about the copy you write but the culture, ideas and values that you are directing it at.

10 Examples of Good Font Pairings

A Summary of Things to Consider

• Establish a visual hierarchy

• Consider context

• Create contrast

• Steer clear of conflict

• Limit your number of fonts

• Avoid pairing fonts that are too similar

• Don’t be afraid to use one typeface across your entire brand

The Increasing Accessibility of Font Pairing

Websites such as https://fontjoy.com have helped to make it easier than ever before for us to play matchmaker with typefaces. Featuring pre-loaded libraries of fully editable text, they are paired up for their compatibility, which you could say is a little like Tinder for fonts! The formula devised to make this process automatous is quite simply fantastic. By identifying that good font combinations tend to be ones that share certain characteristics, but contrast in a specific way, they have been able to build a vast 3D font map. That may not get pulses racing quite as much as their human equivalent but will at the very least set you on your way to fusing a partnership of fonts that you are able to love and to cherish for many years to come.

Why Do Businesses Rebrand?

Why Do Businesses Rebrand?

At some point in our lives, it’s highly likely we’ve all experienced brands through engagement or observation that we take one look at and question their credibility. Its an all too common sight witnessing one slowly stagnating that has become a victim of neglect, suffering a spiralling decline; you don’t need to be a creative professional to know what makes for a brand you feel you can trust and connect with. If you’re blessed with an understanding for the importance of effective branding, alarm bells triggered by sub-standard business performance can often signify that the face of your business isn’t connecting with your target audience quite in the way it should. Rebrands typically occur when you’re struggling to create new business leads or you’ve noticed a dip in turnover and want to inject new life to provoke fresh interest. But when a business is established to the point it is one of the most successful and universally identifiable across the globe, why would it feel the need to refresh its image?

A company such as Google is a great example of a business that understood the importance of ‘growing up’. Back in 1998 when founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were Ph.D students at Stanford University, they would’ve been conscious of their age, considering a rebellious approach to make a statement with, providing the most impact. Parallels can be drawn from the disruptive relationship a teenager can typically have with their parents at some stage during their transition of maturity. But in a different environment with their peers, sharing space with each other, there is a desire to be taken more seriously. The same applies to a brand; there comes a time where its playful nature no longer resonates with its target audience and it needs to mature. By using it to communicate a more serious tone, a business can reinforce its changing approach and extend the longevity of the brand.

Sure, when Larry and Sergey started out at the very beginning of Google’s creation, all they had was a logo. After all, ambitious startups need to say an awful lot through the limited channels they begin with. The logo has to work hard and as the nucleus of the brand, will continue to do so indefinitely. But as a brand grows and matures, its reputation develops and experiences begin to influence a brand’s personality. With continued growth, and increased resources, there become more ways in which this personality can be conveyed which in turn, lightens the burden of responsibility of the logo and so this opportunity to mature becomes apparent. If we expand that context and review the transformation of other pinnacle brands that have a worldwide presence, we can see how apparent a rebrand becomes a necessity. Take a look at the logos below. Through brand recognition on the right, its clear who each of the companies are. But now compare this to the left hand column containing their original identities before they made their mark of domination. Which column of logos do you feel you are more likely to form a connection with in today’s world? Which do you feel you is more trustworthy to deliver its products or services? The simple fact is, they have all understood the power of branding and how changes in society, trends and the growing awareness of their identity. Can you imagine them reaching the same heights of success they have experienced if they had kept faith in their original logos?

Some have even gone a step further and there are now many high profile examples of brands that have recently opted to evolve through the simplification of their image. Whilst there are clear demonstrations of development and no questioning on the advances in maturity, consumer feedback has been sketchy to put it lightly, drawing criticism that this notable over simplicity eradicates the emotional response it should trigger. There is a risk that there is too much reliance on loyalty and brand recognition and not enough investment in future-proofing. Differentiation is what gives a brand its distinct personality and character, so are these examples taking the notion of ‘growing up’ too far? Do we still feel that emotional connection in the same way we did before? Or does simplification mean diversification and enhanced versatility?

The jury is still out on that particular debate but one that can not be argued is that brands naturally evolve. Whether they a borne from a hastily put together scribble or an intricately crafted masterpiece, it is important to understand that sooner or later, change will be a requirement to enhance future success. Sadly, there will always be business owners who struggle to see the value in committing time and financial investment into such a thing but it is up to us, as brand advocates to educate the value in conveying the company’s character and personality through unique brand identity.

Creative Fire: The Meaning Behind Our Brand

Creative Fire: The Meaning Behind Our Brand

After seven years of honourable service, BenBen Design relinquished its position as the brand that has supported us through so many projects; it has been with us on a journey and has largely remained unchanged in it’s lifespan. But with aspiration and growth, we felt a new image was required; one that could grow with us, and so Creative Fire was born. We wanted a brand that could offer diversity, accommodating small startups through to established blue-chip corporations but could demonstrate that we are totally confident in our delivery. Whilst the name Creative Fire reflects the service we offer, we didn’t want to use a meaningless noun just for the sake of having one because it sounds good. By partnering the two elements in this way, we are able express our passion as creatives and the tenacity we have to consistently deliver to our clients.

 

 

If we cast ourselves back to the birth of our brand development, the true origin of the word fire within our brand derives from an experimentation with acronyms. Basing our company name solely on a combination of our surnames (as so many choose to do) felt far too corporate for us. But by incorporating them to form a generically identifiable word, particularly one which serves relevance, it helps to provide an extra dimension to our brand. So whilst F and R represent the names of the two company partners, I and E represent two key areas of our process; ideas and execution.

 

 

We were conscious of steering clear of the clichés. Flames and sparks were deemed too colloquial, diverting attention from the true message we wanted to convey whilst also risking confusion as to what services we were providing. So instead of emphasising graphic symbolism to the visual aspect of the logo, we decided to develop the science behind it.

 

 

As we (should) all know, fire requires three elements in order to manifest; fuel, oxygen and heat. This provided us with a platform to develop our services and value proposition. In devising that our offering focuses on the three key disciplines of brand, print and digital, it was only natural that our tagline would follow suit, communicating three key values that accurately represent us. We Listen. We Create. We Deliver.

 

 

Through experience of working for a number of established, relatively large scale design agencies, our partners have taken the opportunities that a rebrand provides to identify where the flaws in their systems exist, thus what requires refinement in order to make a good agency a great one. By harnessing the near 40 years of  industry experience between us, we came to the conclusion that providing a rigid departmental system that includes multiple points of contact in order to deliver a message throughout a project’s entirety opens up the very real possibility for error. For example, communication can be mis-interpreted as the baton is passed from one department to the next and some disciplines are more technically versed than others. By dealing directly with the creative individual from brief to sign-off, we eradicate any possibility for error. Then there is the small matter of timings; by taking out links in the chain, we effectively streamline the process to aid assurance that projects are always completed on time and never overrun deadlines. Direct communication means quicker, clearer delivery.