How to use typefaces effectively

By Anna Jarvis,



Have you ever wondered about the significance of the style of words you use within your branding? Or how the use of a particular typeface or font can convey different messages to your customer? Come to think of it, what is the difference between a typeface and a font? Don’t worry, we’re going to delve into the world of fonts and typefaces to help you figure it all out.


What is the difference between ‘font’ and ‘typeface’?

Typeface originally meant a particular design of type, while font is a type in a particular size and weight. Typeface encompasses many fonts, however, because of the advancement of digital design you’ll often hear them used interchangeably, hence the confusion around the meanings.


Serif vs sans serif: What’s the difference?

A serif has a slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter. And so sans serif, quite literally means without (sans) a serif.

Example of a serif font (left) and a sans serif font (right)


And what does the font say about your brand?

First impressions are incredibly important in the world of branding so make sure your typeface reflects what your brand stands for. Typically, serif is considered more traditional whilst sans-serif is considered to be more modern and current. If your brand has heritage and tradition, consider a serif style, but if you’re wanting to project that your brand is forward thinking and innovative, consider using a sans serif style.


Key typefaces

The most popular and recognisable serif typefaces are:

The most popular and recognisable sans serif typefaces are:

Sans serif is perceived to be easier to read on screens which is why, in this digital age, it has become so popular, even moving into logos.

Many big brands have also moved to use a sans-serif style in recent years to make their logos more digitally viable but also to project a clean and modern style. Here are some big brand examples from the luxury world who have followed this trend:

Old (left) and new (right) Burberry logo
Old (left) and new Diane von Furstenberg logo

Banks have also been following suit, keen to shake their old, traditional images. A new logo using a sans-serif typeface projects a contemporary and fresh feel:

So how about the ones you shouldn’t use…? Do you remember Comic Sans, Kristen and Curlz from your school days? No matter what you’re designing, they’ll always make your designs look ‘childish’. While they’re not quite sophisticated enough for the adult world, they’re the perfect fit for school text books.

Here’s a great graphic we found which shows what big brand logos would look like in Comic Sans…they don’t quite have the same gravitas, right?

Image via lingoapp.com


Despite the simple generalisation that is made between the usage of serif and sans serif, there are always exceptions to the rule and it’s important to use design to challenge perceptions and conventions meaning you can challenge the norm by creating a stylish, modern look using a serif typeface and vice-versa.

In fact, be a trend-setter not a trend-follower and take a leaf right out of the pages of the biggest trendsetter around. VOGUE. A cool, timeless and stylish brand that thinks that serif works perfectly well for them, thank you very much.

Image via vogue.co.uk


Jam with us!

We could chat about typefaces and fonts all day long and so let us know if you need any support or advice in updating your logo and branding, we’d love to jam with you. Get in touch!

Anna is our zen master designer with an eye for detail. If it’s branding, print or digital graphics you’re after – she’s your font-tastic fairy godmother and knows how to make a creative project ‘pop’!