How to communicate effectively through the power of type.

Typefaces matter a lot in marketing. The right choices of words often determine the success or failure of a campaign, but the way those words look when presented to an audience is just as important.

The driving force behind any campaign is the need to communicate with your audience, and poorly executed typography such as hard-to-read fonts, bad hierarchy of fonts and font sizes, or type that is too lightweight to read can prevent the audience from grasping the message.

We’ve put together a few tips to help you avoid making common design mistakes:

Create a Strong Hierarchy

Creating a strong visual hierarchy is very important for readers to determine the most important points of your campaign just by looking at it. This makes it easier for your audience to follow along and pay more attention to your message. It gives a design structure and a logical flow of presented information, making it feel more inviting. The key to creating hierarchy is contrast, which can come from simple changes in weight, scale, positioning, colour, tone or typeface.

A good starting point is to rank your information from greatest to least importance. This helps to create a piece that speaks correctly while helping you keep your content organized. The result is a design that is easy to read and much more effective.

Limit Your Font Faces

Consistent typography used throughout a campaign unifies it: repetition of the same font in your presentation creates continuity and simplicity. Don’t use more than three font faces in your design and preferably stick with two.

When you exceed 3 or 4 typefaces you begin to detract from the content and the reader becomes confused as to the purpose of the design and the information you are presenting. It’s also a good idea to limit font sizes and colours to minimize reader confusion and maintain consistency.

Select Typefaces for their legibility

For readability in print, this generally means using a serif typeface for body copy and sans serif for headlines, subheads and smaller pieces of copy, such as breakouts or captions. Serif type has thick and thin lines with horizontal serifs that pull your eye across the page. Serifs are known to make reading lengthy material, such as books and magazines, more sustainable for longer periods of time as it helps with eye strain/fatigue. Sans serif fonts on the other hand lend themselves more naturally to being digitised, and come out cleaner and thus more legible in digital applications of type.

If a typeface is too wide then it makes it harder for readers to visually travel from one line to the next. If it’s too narrow then it will be too much eye movement from one line to the next. More decorative typefaces can be attractive but might be more difficult to read, causing the reader to move on to simpler letterforms and words in the layout.

Choose the right typeface for your brand

Being able to interpret the connotations of different typefaces is essential in order to select a typeface which accurately represents your message or brand: have you ever seen a logo where the font does not match the actual service or product it stands for? The audience needs to understand what message you are trying to send and be interested in it.

Typefaces convey different messages to the reader: for example, classical fonts are for a strong refined, educated personality, while more modern fonts are for a cleaner, neutral look. Bold fonts are used for making statements and attracting attention.

There’s a lot that goes into typography and it can make or break a design. It is an art and skill that takes time to master, but it’s one of the most powerful tools that can be utilized in your campaigns.

Here are a few of our favourite typography resources to get you started: