Whilst we can often take logo designs for granted when we see them, and perhaps more so the font types used in logo design, it’s clearly of great importance that we make the right choices here. Some of the high profile companies spend thousands of dollars to research typography for their logo design. Of course, it probably won’t be necessary for most of us to go this far, but font types within logo design is certainly not something to be taken lightly. In this article we explore the main font types which are used in logos and the reasons these font types are used in particular logos to help convey a company’s message.
The main typefaces that we find used within fonts can be grouped into one of four classifications: with serifs, without serifs, scripts and decorative. Many subcategories have been identified within these, but for now we are simply looking at the broad characteristics of these four main groups. The feelings and associations you put across with your logo design is going to be greatly affected by the choice of typeface where letters are present, so it’s worth giving this some serious consideration.
Sans Serif, or without Serif, is a style of typeface which has a simpler appearance. The Serifs, or extra little strokes on the letters, will not be present within this type. Again, there are many different subcategories of these. The first commercially popular sans serif font was the grotesque sans serif, with obvious contrasts in stroke weight. Transitional, geometric and humanist are other common examples to look out for. Square sans serif styles have, as you might expect, a squaring of lines where you might otherwise have curvature. This can bring a much bolder and even dramatic statement within logo design. Microsoft is an example of this, which gives a simple yet strong message that looks to the future. Consider the Facebook logo as another strong example, also very bold and simple but with a few more little slants to the letters which help them interconnect without actually touching and therefore suggesting a little more interest for the social media world.
Obviously there is no limit to possibilities when it comes to creating a brand new logo design, and the decorative typeface style is where you will find some less conventional ideas. This can work well for promoting a modern business which has a very unique message or quality. Artists and musicians might choose decorative styles, which bring something very individual to the font. The Vaio logo design for the sub-brand of Sony laptops has a good example of a typeface which can be classed as decorative. There is a simple flowing pattern which is clearly taking us into the future and giving us something different, yet at the same time offering class and sophistication. This style of simplicity is often found within modern art and design as artists strive to bring something new. Within this broad category, however, you could also find the logo design for the rock band Metallica. The harsh jagged edges of the first and last letters give the sense of grit and strength which the band want to portray, and leaves us with a completely different feeling than we had in the last example.
Logo design is all about engaging the most number of people who see the logo with the correct emotional response, and a surprising amount can be achieved by a clever use of typeface. Companies might update their logos if they discern a change in cultural attitudes, for example, or the direction of their business. Within each group of styles there are endless choices to be made, and so the important thing is to remain focused on the end goal of your logo design. If you have a clear vision of where the company or business wants to go then you are in a good position to start making some choices. Remember that a company’s future is often greatly affected by the choice of logo, as the logo differentiates a brand from all the competitors and it is what sticks in people’s minds. With logo design there are therefore many factors to consider, and these definitely include deciding on the right typeface to use where lettering is concerned.
Here are some useful online resources if you’d like to explore new font typefaces in action or learn more about typography in general: