Stylistically, a font can say as much about your company as the clothes you wear or the music you listen to says about you. If you want your print work to stand out in the modern era of brand communications, you’ll struggle to make an impression if your chosen fonts are the typeface equivalent of flared trousers and Village People vinyl.
Your company should commit to a choice of fonts that represents your values and the way you want to be perceived by your customers. In print, on your website and in your customer communications, the font you choose is a major part of your day-to-day branding.
Where some companies are able to adapt to trends and let their font do the talking, others have missed the mark and struggle to effectively present themselves as a serious option when let down by their typeface.
But what are these style trends, and how can your business best present itself through the use of fonts? Here, we present some examples of fonts popularised in the decades gone by.
Whether used in the original wave of psychedelic pop culture, or during the brief 90s revival on film posters featuring Austin Powers, the bell-bottomed style of font is most assuredly 1970s. Calling to mind the days of disco, it’s absolutely a suitable choice if you’re targeting a retro audience, but fails to pass muster when touting the thoroughly modern sentiments of your tech-savvy targets.
Choosing a font that’s heavily reminiscent of a bygone era can be effective if your core audience shares the same appreciation of the values and beliefs of that time. Your 70s disco party flyer will be better off for this – not so much on the roller banner for your trade show.
On the other hand, the Futura font was used in the film posters for 2001: A Space Odyssey – an equally 70s experience that doesn’t seem nearly as dated by the promotional posters as the likes of Grease or A Clockwork Orange. Unless you’re specifically trying to artificially date your posters with the stylistic touches of time, choose a no-nonsense, sans serif font for a bolder outlook.
Tip: Just because you’re shying away from a stylised font doesn’t mean you can’t be playful. Choosing carefully the words on your poster or business card can still lead to a humorous tone, without the wackiness of an over-the-top font to do the talking for you.
The rising and falling fortunes of tech giants Microsoft have always rested on their ability to create a sense of the future in the here and now, but in their recent logo redesign the company finally realised their vision – or at least, accepted their new shared role in realising it.
The original 1975 logo was created using BASIC by the company’s own creators, which was itself about as advanced a design technique as was possible at the time. Constructed using lines of various thickness, it isn’t a font so much as a coding demo to demonstrate the company’s cutting edge.
Subsequent attempts during the 1980s placed varying degrees of emphasis on the futuristic, sci-fi nature of what the company stood for. The 1980 effort in particular appears to be harsh and cold, rather than the much warmer and jag-free font used today.
Tip: You can’t know what your company will stand for in the future, only what you want it to stand for now. Choose a font that’s in the here and now to reflect your open outlook rather than any bold prediction which could retrospectively appear misguided. A creative business card should embrace possibility, not limit it.