Many people think of signs as functional things, ways to convey information to the people looking at them. When it comes to the fonts, people just figure the most visible choice is the best choice.
Certainly, some signs need to be about visibility only. Highway signs indicating directions, intersections, and traffic flow issues should be as clear and plain as possible, using a block font in a color that sharply contrasts against the background.
But after those road signs get you to where you’re going, you are probably going to notice lots of other signs that will guide you to–or even help determine–your final destination. These are the signs that need to stand out, to utilize features that help would-be customers find the places and things that they need.
“While graphics and colors certainly
play a big role in making a sign effective,
perhaps the most important element
is the font.”
This is where the creative abilities of people come into play. Highway signs are scientific: What fonts and colors are most readable in sun, rain, and headlights? Business signs are artistic: What looks best and catches attention most effectively?
While graphics and colors certainly play a big role in making a sign effective, perhaps the most important element is the font. You can’t help bringing some type of emotion into how your brain sees lettering.
Just as we feel that someone is yelling when they write in ALL CAPS (see?), we can also feel other responses to different lettering types. Fonts have personalities just as people do. Calligraphy conveys elegance and class. Blocky, perfunctory letters tell a story of durability or quality. The list goes on and on.
And for people who have a penchant for expressive penmanship, sign plotters make it easier than ever to mass-produce those custom fonts and produce them consistently as part of a marketing plan.
There are many advantages to this. First, it allows you to utilize your custom font across all forms of marketing material. Once you digitize it, it’s usable on more than just signs. It can also go to work for you on social media accounts, websites, stationery, and business cards. It gives you a distinctive feature for your image that no one else has.
“A custom font keeps you from having
to use standard fonts on your signage
and other materials. That creates an
identity that people recognize.”
That brings us to our next point. A custom font keeps you from having to use standard fonts on your signage and other materials. That creates an identity that people recognize. Think of the signs on successful businesses. Can you go to the drop-down box in your word processing program and find the fonts that spell out McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, or Chevrolet? Of course not. Those companies all have custom fonts, and they’re so distinctive that you probably only need to see one letter to recognize it. You can do the same thing with your custom font, and you can even utilize your signature.
Unique fonts can also help secure your intellectual property. When your stationery or business cards are built from stock clip art and fonts, it’s very easy for someone else to emulate it and attempt to steal some of your market. For example, if you operate Johnson Construction Company and advertise it with standard elements, it’s easy for someone to start Johnston Construction Company with the same colors and letters. You have no legal recourse to protect your brand.
“Creating a custom font and making
it the central element of your brand
identity can really push your business
ahead of the pack.”
Advancements in technology have made it very easy to just whip up a logo or sign from ready-made computer content. But it’s also easy now to put your own together and achieve things that boilerplate marketing elements can’t touch.
Creating a custom font and making it the central element of your brand identity can really push your business ahead of the pack.
Do you appreciate the art of signage and brand identity?
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