Choosing The Right Font And Colour For Your Brand

THE FIVE FONT GROUPS
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of fonts/typefaces to choose from, so it is a daunting prospect to narrow down your choices! How do you choose? A lot of it will be based on your own personal choice of course, but sometimes we need to take into consideration the message that a font may convey by the way it looks.

 

 

Firstly, I will take you through the basic different classifications of font styles: SERIF, SANS SERIF, SLAB SERIF and SCRIPT. These are illustrated on the photo above.

1. SERIF
A serif is a small line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter. Serif fonts are widely used for body text because they are considered easier to read than sans-serif fonts in print.

  • Associations: Classic, traditional.
  • Examples: Times, Baskerville, Caslon.

 

2. SANS SERIF
Derived from the French word “sans”, meaning “without” – a sans-serif font does not have the small projecting features called serifs at the end of strokes and less line width variations. Most web pages employ sans-serif type as they are considered to be legible on computer screens. It is also used as a device for emphasis, due to thicker line strokes.

  • Associations: Modern, clean, simple, minimalistic.
  • Examples: Helvetica, Gill Sans, Futura.

 

3. SLAB SERIF
A type of serif typeface is characterised by thick, block-like serifs. Originally intended as attention-grabbing designs for posters, they have very thick serifs. They make clearer reading on lower quality paper.

  • Associations: Masculin, authoritative.
  • Examples: Rockwell, Courier, Lubalin Graph.

 

4. SCRIPT
A typeface with a flowing flourish. Script typefaces are based upon the varied and often fluid stroke created by handwriting. Many emulate the styles of hand-drawn signs from different historical periods. As phototypesetting and then computers have made printing text at a range of sizes far easier than in the metal type period, it has become increasingly common for businesses to use type for logos and signs rather than hand-drawn lettering.

  • Associations: Flowery, beautiful, decorative.
  • Examples: Shelley, Snell.

 

5. DECORATIVE
The most diverse of all the groups. Anything goes with flourishes and decoration. Rarely used for lengthy blocks of text, decorative typefaces are popular for signage, headlines and similar situations where a strong typographic statement is desired. They can reflect an aspect of culture – such as tattoos or graffiti – or evoke a particular state of mind, time period or theme. Many – such as psychedelic or grunge designs – are time-sensitive and fall out of fashion. Some decorative typefaces use unorthodox letter shapes and proportions to achieve distinctive and dramatic results.

  • Associations: Whatever you want it to be!
  • Examples: Rosewood, Bremen, Davida.

 

Now we will look at fonts in more detail. Say you were designing a wedding invite, we immediately think of something flowery. Here is an example:Font wedding

 

The use of the script font is appropriate for this type of design. It lends itself to the beauty of the day. It’s delicate and enchanting. Also note that a serif font is used in the smaller text as this is also very traditional in its look and is readable as smaller text. If we used the script font all over, it would become too fussy. Just use it as an emphasis on key words.

 

Fonts used on a poster for a heavy metal band would look very different typeface-wise. On the poster below a decorative font has been used in the main heading and this is the sort of typeface we associate with heavy metal – it’s heavy in form, it’s quite in-your-face, intimidating perhaps, grungy and gothic. Again, the principle of not overusing this font is carried through – a sans serif font.

Font Rock music poster with microphone and snake. Tattoo style illustartion

 

 

 

 

Another thing to consider is that your work (e.g. flyer or brochure etc) should keep to 2 or 3 typefaces at the most. Keep the typefaces exactly the same and perhaps use different weights of the same font to keep it clean, or change it a lot in terms of two completely contrasting fonts.

We want them to co-exist beautifully. Try to avoid using two or three fonts from say the “sans serif” category like Helvetica and Franklin Gothic. This can be distracting for the reader – are they the same or not? Stick to different weights of that font to create contrast and a cleaner look. Ultimately, it’s up to you which fonts you decide to use, but using the principles outlined above can improve the image and message you are trying to convey.

 

COLOURS
There are countless possibilities out there on the colour spectrum. We all have our favourite colours that we use on the walls of our house, or the clothes we wear, or the decorative objects we buy for our homes. These things are automatically going to influence our choices. It’s very subjective – what feeling a colour evokes in one person might have the opposite affect on another someone else. This is important to keep in mind if you are looking for a colour palette for your brand.

Colours a non-verbal communication system, but that doesn’t mean they don’t say anything! Below is a basic outline of some individual colours. There are obviously countless varying shades of each of these colours which in itself convey different meanings, but this will hopefully give you an idea of what different colours might be associated with in Western culture.Font colour

 

 

For a flyer that is advertising the services of a landscape gardener, you would expect to see greens – the colour of nature and other calming colours. However, cultural differences can mean colours convey different meanings in contrasting countries. Red in China is lucky. Red in the West can mean danger or passion. Red is a very emotionally intense colour, and along with orange and yellow it is a warm colour which can convey positivity.

Colours like blue, purple and green are cool colours. Blue is often associated with trust, calm and credible. There are for example a number of banks whose brand is blue – this is probably not a coincidence! The colour purple can be associated with luxury and wealth – you might have seen a luxury spa using the colour purple?

THE POWER OF FONTS AND COLOURS
Fonts and colours are more powerful than what we might initially think, and they are likely to have an (unconscious?) affect on how consumers choose which brands they will shop from or which bank they will go to. Therefore, it is vital that you consider who your audience is and who you will be trying to reach with your message. That way, your fonts and colours will be a conscious choice that is aimed at your audience rather than based on what you personally like.

I hope you found this blog post useful. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject so please comment below!

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How To Brief A Creative Agency

Maybe you’re a growing business looking for an agency to create a marketing campaign? Or you’ve already found one, but their work isn’t delivering the results you were expecting? Either way, you can increase your chances of success next time (or first time) ’round by immersing yourself in the brief-writing process.

 

Learning to put a good brief together is essential. Great briefs inspire the agency to bring your campaign vision to life. Poor ones create ambiguity and stifle creativity. Your brief doesn’t have to be complicated or convoluted, but it does need a few essential ingredients.

 


WHAT?

Set out in straightforward terms and simple language what it is that you are trying to promote. If it’s a product, give as much background information as possible; category performance, competitor products, any research you’ve conducted. Maybe it’s an offer or seasonal campaign, in which case the exact details are vital. Also, what’s worked well in previous campaigns? What hasn’t?

The other “what” is a practical one: the deliverables. What is it that you want to be produced, and in what format(s)?

 


WHY?

Why are you running this campaign? What are the objectives behind it and what would you like it to achieve? Success is best achieved when everyone involved knows what success looks like! So being as precise as possible about the KPIs is vital. We regularly get briefs asking for a campaign to increase sales. But without knowing by how much, how do we know whether it’s worked?

 


WHO?

You may know your customers inside out, but if your relationship with your agency is at an early stage, chances are they won’t.

The agency will want to really get under the skin of your audience, so they will need access to as much information as possible about your customers` demographics, habits, likes, dislikes, relationship with your brand, shoe size. OK, maybe not the last one. But don’t be afraid to include as much info as you have. Particularly consumer insight; you can pop any research documents in the appendix.

Download our FREE Creative Brief Template here.

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WHEN?

Perhaps it’s a little obvious to say, but it’s vital that timings are outlined in the brief. When do you want the campaign to launch and how long do you envisage it running for? The other timescale issue is the response to the brief itself. Recent research from the University of the West Of England found that a major bugbear within agencies is lack of time to respond to briefs. So it’s advisable to plan ahead, and make sure Christmas campaign briefs aren’t sent out in November.

 


HOW?

How much money would you like to spend on this activity? Even if it’s a ballpark or bookended figure (between £x and £x), being upfront about this from the beginning means that the agency can tailor their solution to your budget. It can be tempting to simply ask for a quote, particularly if you’re unsure how much to commit. But this is counterproductive, as your agency won’t be able to propose an appropriate solution without at least an idea of what you’d like to spend. So even a rough figure is crucial.

Good luck with your next campaign!

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The Pro’s and Con’s Of Owning a Business

For many, running your own business is a life-long dream, and whilst it does have some major points in the “Pro’s” column, there are also some challenges many new business owners face. This week, we thought we would take a look at the high’s and low’s of running your own gig.


24/7

Your business is your baby, and like most newborns, it doesn’t sleep! The amount of energy and effort you put into making your venture a success can feel overwhelming. Gone are the days of shutting down a computer and switching your brain to “social” mode, you will find that you
constantly have ideas whirring away in the back of your mind and a never-ending “to-do” list to keep you occupied! New businesses rarely become an “overnight success”, they are often the result of months, if not
years, of dedicated hard work and energy.


The High’s & Low’s

The responsibility for the success of your business is all yours, and that can feel pretty heavy at times, especially when you get to the point of employing other members of your team. That being said, the high-points are all yours too! Those days when you win a new customer, or a client is really happy with the work that you’ve done – they are the BEST. And the reason why you do what you do.


Employee Benefits

In essence, you no longer have any! When you kiss goodbye to being an employee, you leave behind a lot of what we like to call “comfort”. These aren’t necessarily the things that are a good enough reason to stay employed in a job or career that doesn’t inspire you, but they sure make it
“comfy”. We’re talking about a regular income, sick pay, holiday pay, and maybe your employer also made pension contributions on your behalf or offered private medical insurance. None of that exists when you become your own boss. At least not in the beginning, drawing a salary from your fledgling business can make you feel guilty, let alone paying yourself to sip Margaritas on a beach somewhere (not that you will have time for that – see point one).

For some considering setting up their own business this is the hardest and scariest thing to leave behind, understandably so, and business ownership is definitely not for everyone.


Social

Unless your new business venture is running a bar or restaurant, branching out on your own can be pretty lonely at times. In the beginning there might not be team behind you, and you don’t always want to bore family and friends with your new-business woes. We would highly recommend getting a mentor, if you haven’t already. They can prove invaluable as a sounding board for those days when you can’t “see the wood for the trees”, and trust us, they happen!

People might not “get it”, even those that you love dearly. And that’s OK. We’ve often heard “you do what?” and “you can really make money from that?”. Don’t let others’ doubts or own “comfort-zone”-worries put you off reaching for your dreams. Ultimately, you become the master of your own destiny, which is pretty incredible. And when you love what you do, it honestly doesn’t feel like work.
Wishing you all of you business entrepreneurs out there every success! Comment below with what you wish you had known about being your own boss before you started, we’d love to hear your stories.

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How To Get New Business Through Referrals

How much time do you or your sales team spend looking for new prospects rather than developing a stronger relationship with your best clients? Referrals can be one of the most effective ways of gaining new business but are often under-estimated.

When asking businesses if they use their existing clients to help them find new business, the answer I typically get is; “I’ve already gotten my current clients to buy, it’s time to move on to the next prospect!”. OK, but how do you get that next prospect? There’s business directories, newspaper advertising, cold calling, networking, trade shows, radio, TV.. The list goes on and on. What’s missing? Asking current clients for qualified referrals.

A few months ago, I was talking to a business owner whose company has serviced the Bristol community for more than 50 years. He spent nearly an hour discussing the difficulties of identifying and landing new business in today’s market. He informed me that the traditional mediums aren’t as effective as they used to be and that most sales people struggle to find new leads. I asked him if he provides his customers with a good service, and he was proud to say that he does. He also mentioned that he has between 175 and 200 current customers and that he hadn’t received any complaints for more than six months.

The next question I asked would tell me what I really wanted to know, and what I probably already knew; I asked him if he asks current customers for more business or for referrals. He then explained that he was much too busy taking care of current orders and managing his sales staff to bother his current customers with that type of request. So, he has 200 satisfied customers that it took him years to find, but he still thinks that the best way to grow his business is to continue working on strategies that he already admitted doesn’t work very well? I next explained to him that it would make more sense to ask those 200 satisfied customers if they wouldn’t mind helping him find a new client. After all, has he not earned the right to ask after years of great service?

For the first time during our meeting he was silent. Although a little embarrassed, he admitted that I was right. In the bestselling book The Power of Focus, the authors recommend the following steps to growing your business:

  • Create a list of your most valuable ‘core clients.’
  • Take a close look at this list and review the amount of time you spend with these clients. Is it sufficient? Do you enjoy quality time with them, or just a few seconds on the telephone?

referrals

So, how do you identify and stay in touch with these core clients?

  1. Determine the characteristics of your best clients.  These clients typically bring you the most business (and profit), appreciate your product/service, regularly refer you to others and are strategically related to your target market.
  2. Compile a simple strategy for keeping in touch with these clients.  This could include a phone call, lunch or stopping buy to visit their staff. The key is making sure that you have regular and meaningful contact – tickets to the big game every 6 months isn’t necessarily good enough. Remember, the stronger these relationships and the more satisfied these core clients are, the better and more qualified referrals will be.
  3. Once you are satisfied that you have adequately developed a solid relationship with your clients, it is time to ask for those referrals. Don’t just send your client an email or mention it in passing. Remember, you have earned the right (through the delivery of a good product or service) to ask for this referral. Schedule a meeting to talk about your request and remember to be specific about the perfect candidate for your services.

Now, I am not saying that prospecting is a bad idea. Every business needs new customers and prospecting has to be a key component in your growth strategy. But before you hire a new salesperson or send out another direct mail piece, make sure that you have a solid strategy for developing meaningful relationships with your best customers. These relationships will result in your most qualified and profitable prospects.

I encourage you to spend the next few minutes thinking about your best customers. Who are they? And more importantly, when is the last time you spoke to them? Start your list today!

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