font love: what you need to create an epic brand font palette
Creating a brand font palette can be intimidating if you're not a designer. Sometimes they look so similar or you don't feel like that have a personality. Maybe you aren't even sure how many fonts you are supposed to choose... #allthefonts ? Even within 1 font family (a family is the collection of variations for one font) there are so many options- bold, thin, italic... eek! Through this post and the Font Palette Workbook you will develop a palette that is a perfect fit for your brand.
what fonts you need in your brand palette
The first step in choosing your fonts is to know your brand personality. I recommend choosing 3 adjectives that define your brand. You want to think about your brand as a person. How would someone describe her/him when they aren't in the room. Adventurous, modern. feminine, creative, luxury, casual?
avoid generic word like 'professional'. Yes, maybe you want to book clients, but are you wearing a suit and dreaming of traditionalism and corporate america? What does 'professional' mean?
An amazing font palette will not make up your entire brand. You need more. You need colors, image styles and patterns that build on each other to complete the personality. This is why I will not design 'just a logo' for a client. They never feel like it has the 'vibe' they want. It doesn't. A 'brand' is a system that blends to make a visual identity. Think of the font palette like this: You choose some really amazing jeans. Maybe they are super cool mom jeans (I think mom jeans are the most fresh right now). Are you going to feel super stylish leaving the house in JUST your cool, new jeans? Fuck no. You need a top (probably), shoes and some killer accessories. Without the complete look, it's probably not the right 'vibe'. That's how the font system works too.
even though there are several categories, you should limit your font palette to 3 (maybe 4 if you're kinda wild) fonts. Within each font try variations like weight (light, bold) and style (italic, all lowercase, all uppercase, letter spacing) to add interest to each category.
the palette essentials
This category will be the the most important info on your site. Blog headlines, page headers, etc. Generally this is the largest typeface in your palette. IMO because it's the largest, you want to keep it somewhat simple. This probably won't be your 'fancy font'. That'll come later.
These are secondary headers. The headers you find within the blog post or for categories within the page copy. 'the palette' above is my 2nd header font. Generally it is slightly larger than the body copy, but smaller than the header. It could be the same font as H1, but it can also be a fun place to add some personality.
Much like H2, H3 is meant to emphasize details within the page content. Again, the font can be the same across the board or different, that's up to what you choose for your font pairings. This is generally the smallest type in the header category.
This is the cake beneath the icing. This font should be simple, clear and legible. If you use a script here, I will claw my eyes out and definitely not be reading anything you have to say. JUST. DON'T. DO. IT. This choice may seem like it doesn't matter much, but it's the majority of the text that people see on your site. The biggest choice here is between a serif & sans serif type. They both convey very different personalities.
If you are building your palette and are mostly web based (online shop, blog, business) make sure you can easily use that font on your platform. The worst is choosing a great font and then not being able to easily use it on your site without hiring a coder.
This is where you'll get excited. But not too excited, babe. This is where you can add in that fancy script or font with lots of curls and fancy details. This is an accent! I suggest using this font on your promo and collateral. You may also use it sparingly on your site. The thing about this choice is that it will likely become trite quickly. If you've been watching bloggers for awhile there are fonts you've noticed popping up everywhere... I won't call anyone out. It's not that the fonts are bad, they just become overused. You want this font to be unique and less used so that you can stand out. For my brand, this font is my actual handwriting. It shows up in my logo and some of my other branded materials, but is used sparingly. If you have handwriting you love, you may want to consider that option. If not, don't fret, there are lots of options.