THE POWER OF TYPOGRAPHY
Fonts don‘t only serve as a method to transport information. No, they are also an often underestimated design element. The choice of fonts has a big influence on the look and feel of a layout or design and either supports or totally destroys the message that has to come across.
Here you will see three different sets of advertisements. Every set shows the exact same photo and the exact same wording. However, the fonts are always different which makes the advertisements look very different. You will be surprised!
Advertisements including texts are imaginary for these examples.
EXAMPLE # 1: BUTTER
This advertisement promotes butter in a food discounter. The most important information is of course the price that comes with a shadow (like in the "good old days"), a slanted box in yellow and red signal colours. This layout almost shouts at you "buy me, I am cheap". Perfect for discount supermarktes.
Fonts from top to bottom: Arial black, Arial bold italic
SUPERMARKETS WITH A MID PRICE RANGE
The typography in this advertisement shifts the butter from discount-level up to a supermarket-level with a mid price range. The focus first lies on the header "Best Butter", then the price comes afterwards. The price is still emphasised by a white box, however it is much more subtle and more pleasant for the eye. The handwriting "extra spreadable" adds extra harmony to the design, but it is a rather average looking handwriting, nothing too special that makes you think of gourmet food.
Fonts from top to bottom: ArmWrestler bold, Papioscript semi-condensed italic, San Francisco Text regular, San Francisco Text bold
This layout looks brilliant for a posh delicatessen store. Elegant capital letters with a manually optimised kerning harmonise very well with the opulent handwriting "extra spreadable". The photo is not overloaded by text, the font subtly accompanies the picture. The price information does not stand out because the price does not play a big role in a gourmet store.
Fonts from top to bottom: Abraham Lincoln regular, Windsong regular, San Francisco Text italic
EXAMPLE # 2: CITY HOTEL IN BERLIN
The fonts in this layout make it look like a mix of a bad Halloween joke and student digs that shall be rented out on an hourly basis. This has nothing to do with a 3 star middle-class hotel in the heart of Berlin.
Fonts from top to bottom: 888 Torn Sound regular, Comic Neue Angular bold
OUT OF FASHION
The font for the hotel name in this example looks very much out of fashion, as if the hotel owner would think we still lived in the 70ies. This advertisement will probably not make anybody want to stay there.
Fonts from top to bottom: Abalaris regular, Abadi MT condensed regular
CLASSIC AND CONSERVATIVE
This layout targets a moneyed clientele, aged 45 +. The typography makes the hotel look conservative, however it does not look old-fashioned. Classic and conservative, it reminds me of Grand Hotel style advertisements.
Fonts from top to bottom: Dossel Lane regular, Lato light
MODERN LUXURY HOTEL
Wide-spaced majuscules give this layout a timeless look. The header stands strong. The modern font for the claim transports a feel of lightness and optimism and is likeable. A beautiful harmony in the font mixing, perfectly embedded into the background picture, gives this design room to breathe and looks elegant and luxurious.
Fonts from top to bottom: Habibi regular, Lato light italic
EXAMPLE # 3: LUXURY WATCHES
NOT EVEN GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE DISCOUNTER
This advertisement shall promote luxury watches. However, the choice and mix of fonts destroys the luxury feel completely. Too "outstanding" fonts that compete with each other instead of supporting each other, they also don‘t go with the promoted product. This typography generates disharmony and destroys the white space next to the watches. This layout looks cheap and would not even survive the market launch phase in a discounter.
Fonts from top to bottom: Moonshiner Oblique Lines, Epochic regular
BLING BLING FOR THE SUPERMARKET
This layout could work well in a supermarket that wants to add some "bling bling" feeling to the watches. Using Copperlate Gothic (yes, we all know it ...), they try to force some sort of luxury onto the advertisement. However, this really backfires. The watch would probably not be of any interest for a jeweller. Too old-fashioned, too average, too "wannabe" luxury (especially because of the small caps of Copperlate Gothic). For a certain type of clientele, this could work in supermarket shelves, but that‘s about it.
Fonts from top to bottom: Copperlate Gothic regular, Tottingham regular
LUXURIOUS, TIMELESS, ELEGANT - FOR THE JEWELLER
This layout is a perfect symbiosis of product picture and typography. The font focus lies on "Time & Luxury", a modern, slightly broken font transports consistency. The curly "&" sign enlaces and connects "Time" and "Luxury" in an artful way. There is a beautiful white space, a subtle dividing element and a claim in a classic and elegant font with high contrast as well as elegant serifs underneath. The advertisement has a lot of harmony, looks trustworthy and perfectly fits in a jewellery store.
Fonts from top to bottom: Tergo regular, Questa grande regular
As you can see, the choice of fonts has a very big influence on the entire look and feel. For example, you would never want to spend much on the discount butter, the price is the deciding factor there. On the other hand, the advertisement for the gourmet butter transports a completely different message, even though the photo and wording are exactly the same. We would all spend three or four (or even more) Euro on that gourmet butter, wouldn‘t we?
Using fonts requires design skills to make or break a poster/flyer/advertisement etc. Typography has more power than you would have thought!
You can also download this topic as a free whitepaper.
Still want to know more about typography and fonts? Find out the secrets about typography here.
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