Choose Fonts for Your Personal Brand - dummies

Choose Fonts for Your Personal Brand

By Susan Chritton

Your personal font is very much like your personal handwriting. The typeface you choose for your written materials (including your online materials) makes a strong impression — an impression that occurs before your audience reads a single word of what you’ve written.

A font can show professionalism, a casual attitude, authority, or a creative flair. The fonts you choose to use in your materials need to reflect your personal brand qualities.

Think about some handwriting stereotypes for a moment. Pretend that you’re playing a word association game, and someone is naming different professions. Your job is to describe their handwriting. Your responses may look something like this:

  • Doctor: Illegible scratches

  • Architect: Structured and neat

  • Accountant: Small and precise

  • Romance novelist: Curlicue letters with lots of flair

While not even a doctor wants to use a font that mimics illegible scratches, an architect or accountant creating a website may want to consider associations like “structured and neat” and “small and precise” when considering what fonts to use.

If an architect or accountant chooses fonts with curlicues and lots of flair, the target audience may not quite know what to make of that presentation. Ditto with a romance novelist who chooses a small, precise font (or a square, chunky font); the people looking at that person’s materials may be confused instead of impressed.

At a site like MyFonts, you can peruse font options and look for those fonts that create the impression you want. Consider the following tips when making your selections:

  • Message and feeling: Fonts show mood and emotion. A rounded font makes a somewhat casual and relaxed impression. Fonts with straight lines in the serif format feel reliable and trustworthy. A heavy font shows boldness, confidence, and strength, whereas a lighter font presents a softer message. Open fonts give the impression that you are an open, accessible person.

  • Clarity and readability: Above all else, your font must be legible in both online and printed documents. All the time you spend considering a font’s mood and emotion will be wasted if the reader can’t quickly and easily figure out what you’ve written!

    When choosing a font for a website, simpler is better because you want the site to open easily across all computer platforms.

  • Less is more: Choose no more than two or three fonts to use in your materials. You’d never want to mix that many fonts in one document, and you want to use the same font(s) consistently in all your materials. Also, be careful to keep the font size fairly consistent within a given document so that the reader’s eye isn’t jumping back and forth between large and small text.

Fonts fall into two basic categories:

  • Serif: Serif fonts have tops and tails at the ends of the letter strokes. These fonts are often used for print documents and are considered more classic style fonts. Most books are printed in a serif font because it lessens eye strain.

  • Sans serif: Sans serif fonts have a cleaner feel because they don’t feature any extra marks at the ends of the letters. These fonts tend to have a more casual feel, and they have become the standard for online copy because they’re easier to read on a screen.

The figure shows some examples of serif and sans serif fonts.