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This is where I share occasional musings on all things type, design, and business.
Hi, I’m Jen Wagner

Creating a strong brand identity is vital for any business, and the font you choose plays a crucial role in this process. With what feels like an entire world of options available, selecting the right font can be completely overwhelming. This guide offers insights on how to choose the perfect font for your brand, (with a little special focus on my most popular typefaces like Ethic Serif, Neue Swiss, and Editor’s Note, along with essential font licensing best practices).

Understanding the Impact of Fonts on Branding

Fonts do more than just display text; they convey the personality and values of your brand. They’re the emotion and tone behind the words – those intangibles really make an impact. And a well-chosen font can make your brand more recognizable and relatable to your target audience. For instance, a modern, clean font like Neue Swiss reflects professionalism and efficiency, ideal for corporate brands. On the other hand, a classic and versatile font like Ethic Serif can give a timeless elegance to your branding, suitable for a variety of businesses.

Ethic Serif Family Jen Wagner Co. Typeface Anna Lemaire, logo using elegant serif typeface

Choosing the Right Font for Your Brand

1. Reflect Your Brand’s Personality:

The written word is what’s said, type is how we say it. The fonts you choose can completely change the tone and feel of what’s being communicated – that’s why it’s essential to be sure they align with the personality of your brand and the world you want to invite your audience into.

  • Classic and Timeless: Editor’s Note is a fantastic choice for brands aiming for a classic, yet modern look. It’s perfect for those who want their brand to feel established and trustworthy.
  • Modern and Minimalistic: Neue Swiss offers a clean and contemporary feel, suitable for tech companies or startups looking for a sleek, modern aesthetic.
  • Elegant and Sophisticated: Ethic Serif provides a sophisticated touch, ideal for luxury brands or editorial content that requires an elegant presentation.

2. Consider Versatility and Readability:

Be sure your chosen font works well across different mediums, including digital and print. Lower-contrast fonts like Neue Swiss tend to be better for readability at large and small scales, making them a practical choice for both web and print media. Higher-contrast types can work great in both contexts as well, but typically need to be reserved for bigger type like headings, quotes, and calls to action.

It’s also extremely helpful when typefaces come with multiple weights and styles. This makes it easier to adjust your style choice based on context, so you can always make readability a priority. Typefaces like Ethic Serif, Neue Swiss, and Editor’s Note make this simple with many weight options and italics.

3. Think About Audience Perception:

How your audience responds to your font choice is crucial. Again, we’re going for alignment of content and tone, so be sure your type choices are ones that not only align with your brand, but with your audience.

For example, you might be a beauty brand that wants to use a cursive script, and it may align with the brand personality and overall vibe, but if (as a broad generalization) your audience is Gen-Z women and girls, that may be a bad choice for accessibility – cursive isn’t taught in schools anymore!

A font like Ethic Serif, with its elegant serifs, might appeal to a more discerning or aesthetically-focused audience, while Editor’s Note could attract a broader demographic due to its classic yet approachable style.

(Curious about how to pair typefaces? Click here to get my free font pairing guide and check out a few of my current favorite pairings)

Font Licensing Best Practices

1. Understand Licensing Terms:

Each font comes with its own licensing terms – ensure you understand these terms to avoid legal issues. For example, on my site, a Desktop license will cover most of your basic needs (logo and branding use, social media, print). A web license, on the other hand, is needed to use the font on a website. So if, for example, you wanted to use Ethic Serif across your brand, you’d need a Desktop license for all your social media posts, printed materials, signage, labels, etc.; and you’d need a Web license to upload the font on your site for use as headers, subheaders, etc.

Note: if you’re just using images of the text on your site (i.e. your logo, where you’re not uploading the typeface to the site), a Desktop license has you covered! You only need a web license when the typeface is embedded onto your website as editable text, like your headers, body copy, etc. But uploading an image that uses the text is okay with a Desktop license!

2. Consider the Scope of Use:

Determine where and how you’ll be using the font. Some fonts require different licenses for web and print use, or for use in large-scale campaigns.

3. Regularly Review and Update Licenses:

Font licensing is not a one-time activity (especially for web use or companies with growing staff, where licenses need to be updated based on pageviews and users). Regularly review and update your licenses, especially if your usage scope changes.

Choosing the right font for your brand is a blend of art and strategy. By considering aspects like brand personality, readability, audience perception, and adhering to font licensing best practices, you can significantly improve the way your brand resonates with your audience. Feel free to search the whole Jen Wagner Co. font catalog to find diverse options to cater to various branding needs.

Remember, the font you choose is a reflection of your brand’s identity and values. Make it count!

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