One of the first things customers and consumers see from a brand is the business’s logo. They may even see it before the product itself, which is why it’s important that a logo perfectly conveys a brand’s identity.
A logo can be distilled into three basic design elements: a symbol representing the brand, the colors the logo uses, and the chosen font. These design elements work together to evoke a brand's personality. You can break down any one of these components into even smaller, yet equally important, design cues.
This article will focus on breaking down the basics of choosing the right font for your business logo, as it is one of the more straightforward design choices you can make for your brand.
The basics of typefaces
Before choosing a font for the logo, any entrepreneur must first understand what they’re getting into.
You probably already know what kind of personality your brand has. Is it serious, or easygoing? Is it luxurious or economical? Whatever your brand image is, the right typeface can allow you to communicate this instantly to potential customers.
The four main categories
The first choice in typographic design is to choose a typeface style from the four main categories.
- Serif fonts – Fonts with small lines at the end of letter strokes called serifs (e.g. Times New Roman, Georgia)
- Sans-serif fonts – Clean-looking fonts without serifs (e.g. Arial, Helvetica)
- Script fonts– More personal-looking fonts imitating handwriting (e.g. Segoe Script, Lucida Handwriting)
- Decorative fonts – Fonts with decorative elements or distinct artistic qualities
Familiarization with the four main categories of typefaces are necessary to make the selection and design process easier.
Choosing a font for a logo
Business owners must take great care in choosing the right font for their logo because, as mentioned, that simple choice goes a long way in conveying the brand's personality and perception. Here are the fundamental considerations:
- Make sure the font is clear and readable
- Don’t use more than two fonts in one logo
- Make sure the typeface captures the feel of your brand, and appeals to your target market
- Choose a font that reflects your industry—check how it looks next to your competitors' logos. Does it fit in, or does it make a statement by standing out?
Frequently asked questions about fonts for logos
How can I determine what type of font to use for my logo?
Should I pay for a custom-made font?
However, it’s not unusual to see brands that use common fonts that are cheaper or free. They might not have the budget to have a font custom-made, so these logos opt to rely on modifying the symbols and colors to be more distinctive instead. So long as the font is clear enough and compliments the other design elements, a font can look personalized without actually being bespoke. Brands that use common typefaces in their logos include FedEx (Futura), Gillette (Futura), and American Apparel (Helvetica), just to name a few.
Should I pay for a font at all?
The 5 best typefaces for business logos
For business owners opting to use existing fonts for their logos, here are five solid and timeless choices to start from. These can be used as they are, or as an inspiration for designers to find typefaces with a similar look and feel.
A timeless typeface designed in 1927, Futura has a classic sans-serif look chosen by many brands for its clean appearance and clear, readable characters. Futura is versatile enough for just about any product or service, especially if the goal is to convey something strong and simple.
Times New Roman
Best for fancy, luxurious, and high-brow brands, Times New Roman is a serif font that remains a favorite due to its strong readability and dignified look. Businesses and brands looking to evoke refinement would do well to start at Times New Roman and explore similar serif typefaces.
Brands looking for a versatile slab-serif typeface may choose a classic like Rockwell. It combines the refined look of serif strokes with the geometric shapes of sans-serif typefaces like Futura and Helvetica, which allows it to evoke just about any personality, from serious to light, or from sophisticated to approachable.
Brands looking to evoke a serious, no-nonsense air can go with a heavier sans-serif typeface like Akzidenz-Grotesk. The typeface has been used historically for just about every print material due to its easy readability. Its simple look allows it to be rendered in many different ways.
For brands looking for a stylish flair, a script font like Monarda is available for purchase. Monarda has an advantage over many script fonts due to being easy-to-read and similar in appearance to block letters rather than cursive writing. Its less-frills approach to cursive also makes it versatile and particularly useful for warm and welcoming family brands and products.
Easy-to-start online shopOnce business owners and entrepreneurs figure out their logo and branding with the right font, it’s easy to start their online shop on Shopify. For a monthly fee, anyone can start, market, and manage their business on a platform that helps them do everything they need to build their brand online.