4 Major Typefaces and Where to Use Them

4 Major Typefaces and Where to Use Them

Typography is one of the most important elements of design. It’s the words you see on a page; it’s the letters your name appears in. Typography takes a design from conveying subliminal messages through color and images, to stating a clear and definite title, mission or goal.

Every part of brand design — from the color palette you use across your media and the style of your logo, to the wording on your website and design of your brochures— has an impact on your audience. Branding inspires your clients to feel a certain way, prompts them to take specific actions, and reminds them of the quality behind your brand. And as an essential part of design, typography plays a crucial role in how your brand effects your audience.

So what exactly is typography? Simply put, it’s the art of arranging letters in a way that’s visually appealing, that draws the attention of the reader to a focal point, and that is consistent with the brand identity. The building blocks of typography are the four major typeface classifications, and the hundreds of typefaces and fonts that are included in each one.

What are the four major typeface classifications? They’re typically broken down to serifs, sans-serifs, scripts, and displays. Keep reading to take a closer look at each one individually, and to see how good typography is used to support the rest of the brand identity.

Serif

Serif typefaces are distinguished by the little ‘feet’, or serifs, that extend from the letters. Serif texts are especially easy to read in print, and are commonly used for body text in books, magazines, and brochures. Here’s an example of a serif font in design —

Serif Font Sample

Sans Serif

‘Sans’ means ‘without’, so a sans serif typeface is essentially a serif text without the serifs (feet). This typeface tends to be easy to read regardless of size or media type. In print design, they are often titles, captions, or descriptions. They’re also often considered more readable online than serif typefaces, and are the standard for websites, social media, and email. This logo design uses a sans-serif typeface —

San Serif Font Sample

Script

Scripts are based on handwriting- they’re generally very fluid, often cursive-inspired typefaces. They can be anything from very formal and elegant, to casual and fun. This typeface is not particularly easy to read and doesn’t work well for copy body, but can look great in logos or headlines. Take a look at these advertisements which use a casual script typeface—

Script Font Sample

Display

The largest and most diverse category, display typefaces tend to be very decorative and are usually designed for a specific use. Like scripts, these typefaces are really not suitable for copy body, but can add a lot of personality to logos, headlines, or other situations where a bold design is needed. This design features a very customized display typeface —

Display Font Sample

 

What are your thoughts on typography in design?

 

Looking for more to read about brand development? Check out some of these posts —

Elements of a Great Logo

Logo Types

The Meaning of Color in Brand Design

3 Reasons why Strong Branding is so Important