This one thing is causing you to wreck your brand, and you probably don’t even realize it. My bet is that your target audience isn’t even sure about it. Do you know what it might be?
It starts with “F” … and ends with “onts.” Fonts. Girl, the fonts you’re using are wrecking your brand. I’m not talking about the fonts in your brand (although that might be the case — let’s chat if it is!) but the fonts you’re using in your marketing materials that you create yourself. (Truthfully, it pained me to use the fonts I did in the “Hint” line in this post’s graphic, but I’m doing it to prove a point!)
For the love of fonts, knock it off!!
Why You’re Wrecking It
In a word: cohesion. Your brand tells a story. It’s your story, and it’s your company’s story. Stories follow a story line. Just as a writer would carefully consider details that they put in their novel, and edit out all of the extraneous stuff, you should be doing the same for your brand. That includes colors that don’t match your brand, graphics that don’t really fit, and…you guessed it. Fonts. Fonts that are not a part of your brand. To a designer, it’s heart-breaking. To your target audience, they see that it’s different, but they can’t really figure out why it doesn’t fit…unless, of course, you’re a typography junkie!
There’s something about using fonts that are not a part of your brand’s cohesive story that will throw people off. There are any number of reactions that may be had, and few are positive. It may cause an issue with credibility and trust with your brand. It might also look like you can’t make a decision since you have so many fonts floating around your marketing materials. Your brand + marketing might look haphazard, too. It’s insane how a single piece of marketing material with non-brand fonts on it will instantly cause people familiar with your brand to judge it harshly.
What You Should Know
Your designer carefully weighs your preferences, along with their extensive knowledge of your target audience and brand perception. Unless you have stated up front that you are tied to a specific font, your designer will make the best choice possible for you. Or, at least they should! Your designer has a ton of info to back up their decision and make recommendations for your brand based on design principles.
For me, I try to encourage my clients to stick with two fonts, and in some cases, three. My clients are mostly female entrepreneurs, and cursive fonts are almost always a given. I like to pair a cursive font with a more simple printed font. I’d say 90% of the time, it’s a sans serif font. If the font I choose for your printed font is an all-caps font, like my absolute favorite ever, Lulo Clean, I make a recommendation for a third font to use for content — the paragraphs of text, or specific information, on your marketing materials. An all caps font isn’t usually the best choice for a paragraph!
Spring For the Fonts
I can’t speak for all designers, but I provide font information at the conclusion of the brand process…sometimes with links to purchase. The majority of fonts I use are in the $10-25 range, so they don’t break the bank. (I won’t even lie — I lust after $500 fonts…one day, my friends…one day.) It would be to your brand’s benefit to spring for the fonts and keep them on hand. Fonts are super easy to install on your computer. $50 — and that’s a high estimate for most brands — is a small price to pay for continuity, looking professional, and like you’ve got your shit together.
Once you’ve installed fonts onto your computer, you can use them in a variety of programs, including word processors if you need to type up a quick document. Not all characters are readily available in a program like Word or Pages, but you can access them through a program like Illustrator or Photoshop. The learning curve on Illustrator or Photoshop is rough for someone jumping into one of those programs, but you’ll be able to make full use of your fonts this way.
Adobe does offer a free trial so you can test out whether or not it’s a good fit for you, and subscriptions start at $9.99 USD a month — if you’re considering designing your own marketing materials, I would consider Photoshop Elements because it’s more or less the “lite” version — you’d be able to specify the size of your canvas, use the fonts you’ve purchased, and organize your material in a well-thought out manner, add images, adjust color, and so on.
Or Hire Someone
If you don’t want to do the dirty work yourself for your marketing materials, hire someone. Hiring your brand designer would be the best option, since it’s always easier for the brand’s designer to jump in to designing additional items for you. Some designers — like me — make it a requirement for the brand to be done through them rather than one-off marketing material designs. It wasn’t always like that for me, but it’s a decision that I had to make in order to provide quality products + services to my clients. It’s not easy to simply jump into a brand that you didn’t create yourself.
Hiring someone is probably going to cost more than the fonts would, but it also means that it takes the headache out of the design for you. For many people, that’s a small price to pay for a solid design that will enhance your business.
The Solution if Money is Tight
We’ve all been there, where money is a problem. If you haven’t branded yet, you might want to chat with your designer to let them know that while you have money in your budget for the brand, you don’t have the budget to supplement your brand with fonts or extra software. Though it’s not always optimal, it’s possible to design a solid brand around fonts that are free for commercial use. It would mean that you wouldn’t have to spend extra to keep your brand consistent and cohesive.
Another potential solution might be to check with your designer to see if they offer any sort of design bundle for marketing materials. Though this would be an extra expense — probably larger than the fonts — it’ll likely save money for you in the end, and it’ll also remove the guesswork of designing your own materials.
Finally, just ask. Do your homework first, for sure, but don’t be afraid to get in touch with your designer and ask their thoughts. You may want to spend a bit of time scrolling through fonts and compile a list of close matches to your brand fonts if you simply can’t afford to purchase them. More often than not, your designer will probably have feedback for you that you might find helpful when it comes to designing your own materials!