photo of many letter stamps

What’s Your Type

Fonts make or break your design, and your brand identity.

Yes, I can be a bit of a font nerd – sure I’m reading Just My Type in my free time, and yes, I’m constantly on the hunt for a good typography poster – but, fonts really are just that important. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with a history lesson, or a dreary rundown on what ligatures and ascenders mean, so just stay with me.

One of our favorite things to do here at Rocket Pop is to help our clients build their brands, and to help them re-brand. We’ve talked before about how a brand is more than just your logo; it’s the blend of design, colors, fonts, imagery, and words that work together to evoke a feeling in your clients, and hopefully helps you stand out. Your brand is a story, and your font choices help to tell your story.

Sure, not everyone is a self-confessed font nerd. But, the average person is still heavily influenced by font choices, even subconsciously.

Back in 2002, a study conducted at the University of Wales set out to test the importance of fonts in consumers’ purchase decisions. They created two versions of package design for 10 different products. One design had an “inappropriate font” (a font that did not match the product or the company), and the other design used an “appropriate font.” The packages with appropriate fonts were purchased twice as often as their inappropriate font counterparts. Additionally, they replicated the study with a simple box of chocolates. This time, the box with the appropriate font was chosen by 75% of customers.

Still not sold on the importance of fonts in your brand identity and design? Let’s get visual. Say you’re walking downtown and you spot this sign:

a sign reads "richmond bakery" in a newspaper font

It’s a little confusing right? It feels off. At a quick glance this seems to advertise a newspaper rather than a bakery, and passerbys might disregard it as such, even if they’re looking for a snack. This font is Amador, a blackletter gothic style font. It’s a beautiful font but it’s just not a perfect match for a bakery.

a sign reads "richmond bakery" in a cursive font

Now, this font aligns more with the aesthetic that we’d expect for a bakery: it’s soft, decorative, and more legible at a quick glance.

Let’s up the ante. It’s easy to notice when fonts seem like the wrong choice when it’s boiled down to black letters on a sign. But, what about using just a font to communicate a style, and genre in a logo?

Suppose a new restaurant is opening in town: Rocket Pop Restaurant. They want their logo to convey their unique style of food and interior ambiance, so that after just looking at their logo, someone has a fairly good idea of the type of food they serve. In this experiment the only thing we’re changing from option to option, is the main font. The colors, shapes, and secondary font are all control variables here.

a sign reads "rocket pop restaurant"

The first font choice is Acier Bat in the style Text Gris. Designed in 1930, this evokes a feeling of the roaring twenties, and early to mid nineteenth century. This font choice indicates that the restaurant could serve mid-century American cuisine, perhaps with a modern twist.

a sign reads "rocket pop restaurant"

Next up is Kon Tiki Aloha. As the name implies, this font was designed in honor of “mid 20th Century Tiki kitsch.” This font choice would tell a passerby that this restaurant serves Hawaiian, or Polynesian food.

a sign reads "rocket pop restaurant"

Viktor Script is our third choice. It’s a fun, modern, and legible take on the classic script font. This font choice might indicate that Rocket Pop Restaurant serves more upscale cuisine.

a sign reads "rocket pop restaurant"

Finally is Diazo MVB Rough2 EX Cond Regular. This “rough” style of the versatile font family gives the logo a more rustic, and Earthy feel. Perhaps this version of Rocket Pop Restaurant serves farm-to-table food, or vegetarian/vegan bites.

Any of these fonts could work well in their logo, each one just represents a very different kind of restaurant. It would be confusing if the second font option, Kon Tiki Aloha, was used to advertise a French restaurant, or a Southern BBQ eatery, right? Just as unsettling as using a fancy script font, like Al Fresco, to advertise McDonald’s.

the classic "McDonald's" logo but with a fancy script font

Font tells your story, and conveys your message through its seemingly trivial lines, and swoops. It impacts customers’ understanding of your brand, and it even impacts their purchasing decisions. It’s time to give typography the seat at the head of the table.

And for those now wondering, this piece was written in Montserrat, one of our brand fonts.

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