Quill feather

Typography in Design: Choosing the Right Fonts for Your Brand

In the world of branding, where every color and line of text can carry significance, it's easy to overlook one of the most subtle yet influential elements–fonts. Typography design, the art, and technique of arranging type, plays a role far more critical than mere aesthetics in branding. Fonts, like colors, are the silent ambassadors of your brand–not as overt or obvious as your logo but still messengers of personality, tone, and identity. 

In this digital age where visual content reigns supreme, choosing the right fonts for your brand is a matter of strategic imperative. The fonts you choose have the power to mold perceptions, evoke emotions, and establish lasting connections with your target audience. They bridge your brand's visual identity and the stories you aim to tell.

Keep reading to learn more about why aligning fonts with your overall brand strategy is a key part of creating your brand identity, and get a little Fonts 101 primer to help get you started (with a handy list of Quill's DO'S and DON'TS when it comes to selecting a brand font). 

A strategy-first approach to choosing brand fonts

As always, we strongly believe in a strategy-first approach to creating a brand identity. That means that, first and foremost, you should have a solid brand strategy in place that will guide each visual identity decision as you build your brand.

You can't seamlessly align visual elements font into a cohesive brand identity without first having a brand strategy. So, before you begin scrolling through font choices, spend time zeroing in on your brand values, features, attributes, target audience, competition, and  brand positioning. If you're not sure where to start, consider doing a SWOT analysis and working with a brand strategist. 

Once your strategy is in place, you will have a much easier time selecting a font that perfectly balances aesthetic, meaning, and strategy for your brand.

Typographic hierarchy

Now that you've figured out your brand strategy, it's time to start downloading some fonts, right? Well, not quite yet. 

In the world of design, especially when dealing with content-rich materials, chaos can quickly ensue if there's no organization. This is where the concept of typographic hierarchy comes into play. It's not just about selecting fonts; it's about arranging and using  them to guide your audience through the content effectively while reinforcing your brand's messaging.

Imagine reading a document where every element uses the same font, size, and weight. It would be a monotonous sea of text, making distinguishing headings from body text and subheadings from captions challenging. Typographic hierarchy provides a visual structure that makes content easily scannable and easy to understand.

Organizing information & guiding your audience's attention

Typography can be likened to a tour guide for your audience's eyes. Hierarchy helps you decide which information should stand out and recede into the background. Through the strategic use of fonts, you can lead your readers through your content in a way that emphasizes critical points and guides them through a logical flow.

For instance, headlines and subheadings often use larger, bolder fonts to grab attention, while body text uses a more subtle font style to facilitate comfortable reading. This not only improves readability but also enhances the user experience. Users who can effortlessly navigate your content are more likely to engage with it and, by extension, with your brand.

Typography as a storytelling tool

Brands are built on stories, and typography is a potent storyteller. You can subliminally communicate your brand narrative by using fonts that align with your brand's personality and values. For example, a whimsical font might underscore your brand's playful spirit, while a serious, no-nonsense font can emphasize professionalism.

Keeping things consistent

Consistency is critical in all things branding. Adhering to a typographic hierarchy ensures that your brand's messaging remains consistent across various materials. Maintaining a consistent typographic structure reinforces your brand's identity and strengthens your messaging, whether it's a website, brochure, or social media post.

The five main categories of fonts

While certainly not all-encompassing, we can break fonts into five categories for ease of organization. Each category has its own distinctive characteristics, making them suitable for different brand personalities and communication purposes:

1. Sans serif Fonts: These fonts are clean, modern, and straightforward. They lack the decorative "serifs" or small lines at the ends of characters found in serif fonts. These fonts are also the most readable and lend themselves well to headlines and body text. Sans serif fonts like Arial and Helvetica often convey a sense of simplicity, minimalism, and contemporary design.

2. Serif Fonts: Unlike sans-serif fonts, serif fonts have those decorative lines or "serifs" at the ends of characters. Serif fonts tend to convey tradition, professionalism, and a sense of history. Fonts like Times New Roman and Baskerville fall into this category.

3. Script Fonts: Script fonts mimic cursive handwriting and have a flowing, calligraphic quality. They are often used for brands that want to convey elegance, creativity, or a personal touch. Fonts like Alex Brush and Dancing Script fall into this category.

Note: It's important to consider legibility when choosing a script font. Remember, it doesn't matter how nice the font looks if people can't read what your brand wants to convey to them.

4. Handwritten Fonts: As the name suggests, handwritten fonts simulate the look of handwriting. They add a personal and informal touch to brand messaging. Brands seeking authenticity and approachability often use handwritten fonts like Permanent Marker and Patrick Hand.

Note: Like script fonts, handwritten fonts usually work best when deployed with restraint. Readability should be paramount, so if a handwritten font suits your brand, it should find its place in the hierarchy as a header font and never as body text.

5. Decorative/Display Fonts: These fonts are highly stylized and unique, often reserved for artistic or creative projects. They can evoke a wide range of emotions and are suitable for brands that aim to be unconventional and attention-grabbing. Examples include Neon World or Boldoy.

Note: Decorative fonts are another category of font that should be used sparingly for maximum effect. These fonts are usually great at evoking certain emotions or conveying certain values about a brand but tend to be less legible. If you're using a decorative font, only use it for things like headlines, banners, and large display formats like billboards.

How fonts convey personality & tone

Different font styles have distinct personalities, and by carefully selecting them, you can convey professionalism, playfulness, elegance, or any other desired attribute that aligns with your brand's identity and tone.

For instance, a crisp, sans-serif font like Helvetica can exude professionalism and modernity, making it ideal for corporate brands. In contrast, a handwritten or script font can add a touch of playfulness and informality, which might be more suitable for a creative, artisanal brand.

Elegant, serif fonts like Bodoni evoke a sense of class and refinement, often associated with luxury brands. Modern, sans-serif fonts, on the other hand, modern, sans-serif fonts convey a contemporary and forward-thinking image, ideal for tech companies and startups.

Even the weight and thickness of a font can communicate a certain tone. Bold fonts command attention and are excellent for highlighting key messages, while lighter fonts can create a more subdued and understated impression.

When choosing a font for your brand, keep the brand personality top of mind, as it should be mirrored in your font choices. If your brand values creativity and innovation, look for fonts with a unique, artistic flair. If trustworthiness and reliability are your selling points, opt for fonts that exude stability and dependability. If sustainability is a key value, consider earthy, organic fonts that convey a connection to nature. If your brand is all about high-tech solutions, sleek, futuristic fonts may be the way to go. No matter your brand's personality, there is a perfect font out there to match!

Real-world examples of great typography in powerful branding

To truly appreciate the impact of typography on brand identity and messaging, let's check out some real-world examples of brand fonts done right. 

Coca-Cola: Timelessness & Tradition

Font Used: Spencerian Script

Coca-Cola has created an iconic brand associated with happiness and nostalgia. At the heart of its branding lies the Spencerian Script, a cursive font modeled after the type of decorative handwriting popular in the United States during the 19th century. The timelessness and tradition that Spencerian Script evokes align with Coca-Cola's enduring appeal and classic status. The flowing script not only captures the brand's history but also adds a touch of warmth and personal connection.

Airbnb: Going Bespoke

Fonts Used: Cereal 

In 2018, Airbnb joined a growing number of companies opting to custom-create their brand fonts to even more decisively align with specific brand strategy and identity. Airbnb uses the font Cereal, a modern and friendly sans-serif font designed by Dalton Maag, a typeface design studio.

This choice reflects the ease of use and accessibility as well as warmth and simplicity. This bespoke font aligns perfectly with Airbnb's commitment to creating a sense of home and belonging for its users. And the bonus? Because it's completely bespoke, Airbnb could make sure it was legible across all platforms and touchpoints.

Vogue: Luxury & Fashion

Font Used: Didot

Vogue, the epitome of high fashion and luxury, employs the Didot font to convey elegance and sophistication. Didot, a high-contrast, modern serif font, is known for its thin hairline serifs and elongated vertical lines. This font choice perfectly aligns with Vogue's brand image, reflecting the magazine's commitment to showcasing the latest trends and glamorous fashion. Didot's timeless beauty and refinement elevate Vogue's editorial content and accentuate its premium status. These same personality traits are reflected in other brands that use Didot, including Dior, Yves Saint-Laurent, Armani, and Guess.

Maya Pet: Modern History

Font used: Custom-created

“Ancient wisdom for healthy pets” is Maya Pet’s slogan, and just like the product, Quill wanted to find a logo font that seamlessly bridged the gap between history and the contemporary world. Quill designers created a custom fixed-width sans serif font that pays homage to the tapestry of ancient Greek wisdom weaved throughout the brand’s visual identity while exuding contemporary, clean aesthetic. In this harmonious blend of antiquity and modernity, Maya Pet's logo font stands as a testament to the brand's dedication to delivering time-tested care for our furry companions in today's world.

Quill's Do's & Don'ts when choosing a font for your brand


1. Do start with strategy. Focus on your key features and attributes and what differentiates you from your competition. Understand the demographics, tastes, and preferences of your target audience. Your fonts should resonate with them and evoke emotions that align with your brand message.

2. Do Maintain Consistency Across All Brand Materials: Consistency is key to brand recognition. Once you've chosen your fonts, ensure they are used consistently across all your brand materials, from your website to your social media posts and printed materials.

3. Do Ensure Font Versatility Across Platforms: Ensure that the fonts you choose are not limited to one medium. Select fonts that can be used both in print and on your website. When a font isn't suitable for a specific platform, have alternative fonts ready that maintain your brand's visual identity.

4. Do Verify Font Licensing and Long-Term Availability: Before committing to a font, verify its licensing terms and conditions. Ensure that the font you select is legally available for your intended use and won't pose legal issues in the long run. Also, consider the font's source and availability to avoid potential disruptions in your brand's visual consistency.


1. Don't Choose Fonts Solely Based on Personal Preferences: Your personal taste in fonts might not align with your target audience's preferences or your brand's identity. Always prioritize what works best for your brand's goals.

2. Don't Overlook Legibility for the Sake of Aesthetics: While decorative fonts can be visually appealing, they might sacrifice readability. Don't sacrifice the ease of reading for the sake of aesthetics, especially for body text.

3. Don't Use Your Logo Font Anywhere Other Than Your Logo: While it's important for your fonts to complement your logo, avoid using your logo font extensively in other brand materials. Your logo design should stand out as a unique and powerful element of your brand identity.

4. Don't Give Yourself Too Many Options: While experimenting with fonts is essential, be cautious not to overwhelm yourself with too many choices. A surplus of options can lead to decision paralysis. If possible, work with an experienced brand designer who can guide you through the selection process, making it more efficient and effective.

5. Don't Use "Forbidden Fonts": Some fonts have baggage. Fonts like Comic Sans and Jokerman have become so embedded in our culture that they're often seen as joke fonts. Fonts like Papyrus and Bradley Hand have a forever 90's aesthetic. And fonts like the faithful Impact, while bold and attention-grabbing, have become so popular that it's not completely overused. Vet the fonts you want to use to make sure they don't come with any less-than-stellar reputation that may convey unprofessionalism or lack of attention to detail.

Work with a strong brand designer to find your perfect font.

The ultimate "do" when it comes to choosing your brand fonts? Work with an expert brand designer like the ones at Quill Creative Studio!

Brand designers are well-versed in the art and science of typography. They understand the nuances of fonts, how they evoke emotions, and how they can be harmonized with your brand's identity. They also know how to collaborate with brand strategists and consider your brand strategy when finding the perfect font. This ensures that your fonts not only look good but also resonate deeply with your audience. Lastly, a brand designer can seamlessly integrate your chosen fonts into your overall brand identity. They'll ensure consistency across all brand materials, from your logo to your website, social media, and print collateral. This cohesive approach enhances brand recognition and reinforces your messaging.

If you're just starting out with a new brand or have a brand that needs a typography refresh, let's chat and find out how the brand strategists and designers at Quill can help find the perfect fonts for your brand.