Brand Design: Understanding Font and Colour

By September 15, 2017 August 8th, 2019 No Comments

Design Inspiration

Why are fonts and colours so important when it comes to digital design?

Both these elements really show who you are as a company – it gives a bit more of a backing to your identity and attitude. They might seem like superficial things to put your time and thought into, yet apart from being about aesthetics you want it to be about standing out – so that it will facilitate your followers when identifying you from among the competition.

fonts for branding

It’s a good idea to really know your competition and how they do things. Ask yourself, ‘what messages they are sending with their design?’.


Is this how I want to viewed?

What is my message?

What is my mission and is it evident in the way I am portraying myself at the moment?


The latter is an important issue, you can’t afford to choose your font on a whim as after a while you’ll want to change it.

Being consistent sends out the right message to your clients and those checking out your site.

Consistency means that you are reliable in other sectors and that you also know what you want and what you’re about.

how to pair fonts

Therefore, consistency is a golden rule. This goes for materials you’re using, graphics, printed ads and signage. Serious brands usually go for three core fonts – a hero font (used for headings), a highly legible one (or body font for the main pieces of text) and a support font (for subheadings and any emphasis). By sticking to a couple of fonts your brand will be more cohesive and visually appealing. These fonts are not altered save for when you add italics or bold dimensions.

Hero Font

Your header font is the one you will use for your titles, announcements, important information…something that will grab their attention.

Body Font

Your paragraph text…you know what this needs to look like. Just make sure that it compliments and relates to your header font most especially.

Support Font

This can be the fun font, which can be a bit more artistic. You can choose a brush-type of font for this one.

If there’s a particular font you can’t seem to let go of but cannot use, either because it doesn’t go with the rest, or it isn’t as legible as you need it to be, then keep it on the side and consider it for one-off campaigns. It can easily become your campaign font. This way it will not be a permanent fixture whilst at the same time you get to use it and it will look fresh when you do.


There is a pattern to your identity, so make sure that the fonts represent you. Patterns give off a certain mood – do you want to be traditional and formal, or modern and clean, or how about classic and sophisticated – what screams YOU?

font branding importance

How do you choose fonts?

Choose 5 keywords that really describe you. Look through a select list of fonts and see which go with the words that you’ve listed.

Thing is, how do you pair fonts well?

Traditional fonts like: Baskerville, Times and Georgia pairs well with Sans serif.

Modern ones: Futura, Helvetica and Verdana go well with simple script as well as hand lettering fonts.

Elegant styles: Isabella, Buttermilk and Zapfino pair with Serif styles.

Bold fonts: Clarendon, Museo and Silverfake (an all caps font) want to be paired with slab styles, try some typewriter fonts for a difference.

fancy and simple fonts

– Establish a visual hierarchy

This is the order in which your viewer is going to see your information, it has to be pleasing to the eye. One of the fonts has to be more imposing than the other, more dominant in a way (either in weight, size, colour or mood).  This hierarchy makes it easier for the viewer to navigate through the page.

– Think of pairing opposites

If your header has a lot of personality then pair it with something simple like sans serif font. This will give you balance, as well as ensure visual hierarchy is in place.

If you have two bold fonts then as nice as they might look individually they will be competing when paired together.

– Combine Serif with Sans serif

If you’re using Serif for either header or body font experiment with the different serif looks.

– Create contrasts of font weight

If you’re using the same sans serif font for the header and the body text as pairing, then simply change the weight to differentiate between the two. This might actually be a refreshing option compared to choosing a completely different font altogether.

– Going back to calligraphy

Calligraphy has really taken off, as it should because it looks simply divine. When done well, and you’ve described your company ethic to the designer then you can expect to have a font that really represents you.


The psychology of colour in advertising relates to persuasion and visual appeal. Colour theory is complex and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Designers have a feel of what works for what message and what each colour conveys.

Sometimes personal preference isn’t going to cut it. You have to think about personal preference and back it with experience, viewer preference, cultural difference and context.

Colour is very much dependent on experiences, which cannot be generalized or pinned down. With everything in marketing and branding, you’re not going to manage to please everyone, but you don’t want to.

You want to grab the attention of your target group. Keep them in mind when you’re choosing these elements of design.

Your colours have to be: 





The right colour will not look out of place, even if it’s an accent colour then it’s going to really fit in with your message and emotion. Your colour does have to appeal and energize your customer. The end product might be a purchase but thinking of something which will be more long term and ensure that they visit the site again is to make it visually pleasing and interesting too.

When you’re thinking about what your brand personality is all about you have to go through some themes:

Sincerity – is it family-oriented, how real and sincere, wholesome and cheerful do you want to be?

Excitement – this is all about how daring, spirited, imaginative and innovative you want to be

sophisticated design

Competence – are you reliable, intelligent and successful? Look to convey this

Sophistication – how important is this and how far do you want to go with it?

Ruggedness – this is the truly outdoorsy spirit

Companies are usually a mix of two traits, but usually one still dominates.

Don’t go for stereotypical colour associations but rather choose colours that speak true to you and your vision.

feminine focused web design

When considering your context and audience, sometimes there can be a difference of colour preferences between the genders, men generally prefer bold colour schemes while women prefer softer or pastel-like ones.

In general, your company mission determines your target group and the mood determines the colours you go for. That should be enough to give you a good indication of what you should pick when it comes to both fonts and colour scheme.

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