How to strategically choose a typeface

While it might seem like a small choice in the mass of decisions you have to make when setting up your business, the typefaces you use actually form the undercurrent of your brand and visual tone. 

Your typefaces, along with your colours are the elements that are used most (not your logo) and have the biggest impact on the overall story your business is communicating.

With the millions of options out there, it can be difficult to know what you’re looking for. My advice is to think strategically about the message you’re trying to convey with your business, not just what aesthetic you happen to like. 

Let’s use Merit as an example. The brand message I’m trying to get across is that I’m a bold, talented designer who wants to make bold, interesting work. I also need to show that I can handle the other aspects of my business well (client management and finance). So Merit has two typefaces – the logo font is a bit quirky and modern with a hand-drawn feel to show the kind of work I do, and it’s supported by a no-nonsense websafe font that has a friendly roundness to it. In combination, these two type styles tell people what kind of business I am, and what to expect when interacting with me.

Have a think about your brand positioning – what’s your brand story? How can you use visual tools strategically to communicate that?

Three things to look for

When choosing a typeface, there are a mix of aesthetic and functional factors to consider.


Most people have never really thought about it, but typefaces have super strong personalities and are key in creating the overall look and feel of your business. 

Different type characteristics give off different personality traits, so you’re looking for the right combination of characteristics to convey your brand feeling.

Some examples:

This is perfect for a fun, playful brand. The chunky letters, slightly extended stem at the bottom of the ‘u’ and ‘d’ and the way the letters appear to be sitting at different heights all combine to give a mischievous, informal tone. This would be a great fit for a kids or pet brand, something light-hearted and colourful.

Thrillers just feels like a brand for cool people. The variation in line thickness, the curved tops to the letters and the closeness of it all create visual interest and make you want to know more. It’s inviting you in. I can see this working amazingly for both an inner-city run club and a book club that only reads literary fiction.

Using a graphic effect inspired by printmaking and natural lines, Kiln feels like it was made by hand rather than by a computer. It makes you think of ink and clay, paper and fabric. This would be perfect for a shop selling lovely handmade items, or a cafe in a rural area.


If nobody can read what you’ve written, you may as well not have written it. Sometimes we get carried away with the visual of something and forget about the practicality. Especially with the more elaborate script fonts, it can get increasingly difficult to decipher what has actually been written.

This goes for thickness too – if you use a super thin font, be mindful of your colour contrast and type size because they can make it really difficult for the reader.


A really easy way to create unity and interest is to choose a font that has lots of weight options. That way, everything is from the same family and you have ways to create visual hierarchy through your copy.

A good rule of thumb is to choose a font with a normal, bold, light and italic. 

Having a heading or feature font in combination with a supporting font is another great option. Use a font with lots of personality for headings, and use your supporting font in different weights for everything else. 

Importantly, don’t be afraid to explore and experiment before deciding. Try out different combinations and see what looks good together, see how they look in your brand colours and with your logo, think about the story they’re telling. And if you need a hand, give us a call.

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