What are some of the best fonts for a logo? A simple question with a complex answer.
Choosing a font for your logo can be tricky. The beauty and complexity of type, combined with an exhaustive supply of options and innumerable combinations, can make your head spin.
Fret not! While there’s no easy-to-follow formula, there are rules and tried and tested principles that can help you choose the best font for your logo. There are different fonts that work well together and if you work through the system with patience, there’s a high probability that you’ll find the perfect font for your logo.
Begin with your goal
One of the first things to do when choosing a font is determine how you want your audience to react to the text. The reaction is your goal, and it’ll guide you in your designing process. If you’re the business, you’ll know how you want your audience to feel; if you’re a designer, this directive will come from your client. Whatever may be the case, the font you choose for your logo needs to strike a good balance between:
- Appropriateness (connection with the audience)
This is easier said than done, and in design, each of these elements demands a certain degree of independent consideration. One way to address this is to break down the font selection process into objective and subjective parts. Legibility and readability are more readily quantifiable than mood, so it’s best to address that first.
What Is Legibility?
Legibility is the typeface design as in the width, stroke, whether it has serifs or not, and if there are any unique elements in it. A legible typeface makes it easy to tell one letterform from another. For example, decorative fonts have low legibility because they’re meant to be seen at a glance and not something you read at length. This is where serif and sans serif fonts come into play, designed in blogs and website content because they have high legibility. When looking for the best fonts for a logo, consider how legible you want your text to be.
Tips for choosing logo fonts that have high legibility:
- Choose fonts with conventional letterforms (for example, serif and sans serif)
- Choose fonts with generous spacing making them easier on the eyes
- Choose fonts with a tall ‘X-height’
What Is Readability?
Readability is when type style, size, leading, color, tracking, and all other design elements come together to form an overall impression. They determine how easy it is to read the text on your logo. For example, you could use a font with intentionally low readability (if it’s something that aligns with your brand). Or, if your message is complicated or needs your users to know what’s written clearly, opt for high readability because you don’t want to confuse your audience.
Tips for choosing logo fonts that have high readability:
- Look for fonts that were designed for readability
- Align text to “right ragged” for comfortable word spacing online
- Ensure your line-height is greater than the point size of your font for multi-line texts
What Is Appropriateness?
Some of the best fonts for logos are ones that conform to the aesthetics expected by the users for whom the design is intended. For example, if you’re designing a logo for a financial institution, using Comic Sans may come across as a little too light-hearted and relaxed. People don’t normally associate these qualities with someone who’s managing their money. However, a Serif font such as Times New Roman or Bembo might be a better choice.
Fonts can play a huge role in evoking a strong reaction like excitement or panic, but the readability of the design and the text itself can take your logo design to another level.
Tips for choosing logo fonts that have high appropriateness:
- When selecting a font, write it out in a sentence and then think of the emotions it exudes. Is it serious enough? Or appropriately funny?
- Trust your gut, but have strong points to defend your choice of font for the logo
- Show the font to a friend and ask them what emotion does it convey?
How Many Fonts Should You Use In A Logo?
Ideally, try and stick to one but if you must then use no more than 2 different logo fonts in your logo design. Any more fonts than that and your logo design will look too messy and unprofessional. What you're incorporating in your logo will also determine the number of fonts you can use. For example, choose one font for your main brand name and another font for your slogan or your tagline or brand description.
How To Combine Logo Fonts?
When combining different logo fonts in one logo design you want to make sure the fonts work well with each other.
Pick one main font for your brand name that represents your brand’s style the best. It should be eye-catching, readable, and attractive. Any additional fonts need to be more subtle. Consider the following:
- Combine a statement font with a more subdued sans-serif font.
- Combine different versions of the same font: try combining the font of your choice in italics, bold or all caps.
- Avoid combining different statement fonts, such as serifs with slab serifs or a script font with another script font.
Best Fonts For Logos - Tips To Choose The Right One
One of the questions you must be asking yourself when designing your logo is how to choose a font that will accentuate your brand.
Your logo's font communicates more than just the name of your company. The right font expresses your sense of style, brand personality and adds that little oomph to your communication. Knowing how to choose a font for your logo design is essential because it can directly impact your customers' thoughts and emotions.
For example, a clean and straightforward serif font can be a classic choice associated with tradition and timelessness. However, a bold sans-serif font can bring out feelings of strength, power, and confidence. Before you decide on choosing a font, do a little research on how they can impact your brand and then select one.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing a font for your brand's logo.
1. Think about legibility
Legibility should be one of your top priorities when designing a logo. Various elements create a great brand logo, and font legibility is one of them as it communicates your brand identity and personality. You want to choose a font that strikes the perfect balance between readable text and something memorable that's unique to your brand. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Be mindful of color combinations. A light-colored font on a light-colored background will not be top legible. Choose contrasting colors.
- While they look attractive, heavily scripted logo fonts are often hard to read. They demand lots of breathing room, so consider increasing the space between letters and the line-height.
- Avoid all caps if you choose a scripted font.
- Play around with alignment, space, color, and size to see what fonts fit best with your logo.
2. Understand the personality traits of different fonts
If you don't have typography expertise, you may not be familiar with all the different font categories. Knowing what a particular type of font communicates can be good when thinking about how to choose a font. This will ensure that the font you pick aligns well with your brand personality.
Here are three basic font categories:
Serif fonts are classic, traditional, and trustworthy. They're one of the oldest font styles originating back in the 15th century. They're named for the feet (called serifs) that can be seen at the top and bottom of each letter.
Brands that want to convey tradition and respectability, such as Time Magazine, Tiffany & Co, Vogue, often prefer serif fonts.
Popular serif fonts that you can explore:
- Times New Roman
- EB Garamond
Sans serif fonts are clean, modern and help you get that minimal look and feel. These fonts came in during the 19th century; therefore, they're perceived as more stylish than serif.
They are simple and give a sense of cleanliness that helps you get that minimal design look. Some of the top tech companies use serif fonts for their logo design.
Popular sans serif fonts that you can explore:
- Open Sans
- Proxima Nova
Script fonts are elegant and unique, and they are designed to imitate cursive handwriting. The character strokes here connect one letter to the next.
Similar to human handwriting, each script font looks unique and feels distinctive. These fonts tend to follow design trends which makes them a risky choice. Trends are not permanent, and you don't want your design to look out of fashion a few years from now.
Despite that, brands such as Ford, Johnson & Johnson, Cadillac, and Instagram use script fonts tastefully in their logo design.
Popular script fonts that you can explore:
- Lucida Script
- Dancing Script
3. Pick a pair of logo fonts that matches your brand personality
When it comes to combining fonts, there are multiple variations in each font category that impact your logo's vibe. Therefore, knowing how to choose a font and pairing different ones is crucial. Here are some pairing schemes that you could explore for your brand's logo.
Pair a serif with a sans serif to exude approachability and trustworthiness.
The contrast between serif and sans serif fonts makes them easy to pair. It allows you to balance the dependability of serif font with the modern look and feel of sans serif font.
Use thin, stylized serif fonts to exude luxury.
According to font psychology researcher Sarah Hyndman, thinner, lighter-weight fonts are consistently rated as looking more expensive than heavier, more rounded fonts.
Here are some elegant logo fonts that you could explore:
- Playfair Display
- Poiret One
Use thick and rounded sans serif fonts to exude a young and friendly vibe
When paired with thin and lightweight fonts, thick and rounded fonts give a sense of cheerfulness to the design. When thinking about how to choose a font in this category, explore some of these pairings:
- Quicksand Bold with Open Sans
- Fredoka One with Montserrat
- Quicksand Bold with Quicksand Regular
Here's a quick checklist to keep in mind when pairing different logo fonts to highlight your personality.
- Pair a serif with sans serif to channel trustworthiness
- Choose minimal sans-serif font for a more corporate feel
- Choose thin sans serif fonts to give a sense of luxury
- Use thick, rounded sans-serif fonts to provide a friendly feel
4. Choose a font that meets three crucial requirements
How to choose a font that supports your logo and brand in every piece of communication, irrespective of the platform? It's simple--once you've selected your font pairings, put them through the following tests before finalizing it.
Test 1: Are the brand fonts flexible?
The font you choose for your logo will stick with you for years to come. Therefore, you must ensure that they work well on every medium, whether print or digital (including mobile).
First, ensure you have the proper licenses for each application. If you're going to use your brand fonts on everything, including your website, product design, social media images, videos, blogs, external presentations, etc., then create mock-up designs for each. This will allow you to see how your font looks when placed on different backgrounds, colors, and sizes.
Test 2: Does it have multiple font weights?
These include light, regular, semibold, and bold. They help build a clear text hierarchy and should be specified in your brand style guide. You'll need to use your font differently to highlight headings, sub-headings, body text, callouts, quotes, and more, both print and digital.
Test 3: Is your font legible?
It's not just about how to choose a font. It's about choosing a font that's legible irrespective of the medium or device. It should be easy to read and understand, whether in uppercase or lowercase, large or small, numbers or letters.
Your headers are what attracts someone to your blog or website. Your user should read everything clearly without any strain or confusion. For example, the letter 'R should by no means look like 'N.'
5. Seek inspiration from those who’ve been there, done that
The chances that another designer has already gone through similar dilemmas to yours and found a solution is high. Designers in the past may have experimented with the fonts that you’re considering now. Websites such as Fonts In Use are great resources to see fonts and typographic choices made by designers across different industries. See what they’ve done and how they’ve deployed different fonts in their design. Often simple, boring, and familiar fonts do the job well. There are good reasons why some fonts get used a lot over others for specific purposes--they work exceptionally well.
6. Test and experiment the old school way
Once you have a few logo fonts narrowed down, use some simple, tried, and tested old-school techniques to test their efficacy.
- Set up style sheets whether you’re designing for print or the web. Use tools such as Web Font Specimen to speed up the flow of ideas as they’re easy to swap out.
- Play around with the font by changing its size, dimension, and elements to see how it performs in a tense vs. relaxed design.
- Change one thing at a time and gauge the difference it makes to your overall design.
- Get another opinion. When you’re working too closely to something, or emotionally invested, you tend to miss out on the obvious.
7. Avoid being unoriginal
The desire to do the obvious is highest when you’re starting with a logo design project. Work through it and move forward to see how different fonts can be used in ways others might not have imagined. This is where true creativity and design skills kick in.
- Don’t use Comic Sans just because your brand is fun, relaxed, and joyous. (If possible, avoid using this font completely)
- Don’t use Futura just because your brand has something to do with the future.
- Don’t use Papyrus just because you’re dealing in ancient history. Worse, it’s about Egypt.
- Don’t use Times New Roman just because the brand has a profound and formal tone.
Avoid choosing something so blatantly obvious that it hides your critical thinking and design skills. The best fonts for logos are choosing and adapting to the design to meet the criteria mentioned above.
8. Stick to the basics when in doubt
When you can’t find a solution, go with the tried and tested, especially if the deadline is fast approaching. For example, if you choose a neutral serif and sans serif combination, it may not be groundbreaking, but your sensical design will be relevant. Don’t waste time trying to make Times New Roman and Trebuchet MS cooperate.
Look for inspiration, check what other designers have done. You’ll find some classic combinations that have stood the test of time.
9. Don’t be afraid to break the rules
Start breaking rules only after you’ve understood them thoroughly. Knowing the basics will help you make intelligent choices with your logo design. It’ll also help you identify the rules made to break and how to transcend conventional choices. You might have to go through a hundred and one ideas before you find the winner, but focus on the process more than the result and you’ll have fun. Good knowledge of type and fonts gives you the ammunition to be creative.
Choose the best font for your logo
Knowing how to choose a font is crucial because logo fonts can make or break your design. Choosing the right typography and font pairing can help you amplify your brand personality and tell your story better. There are hundreds of fonts out there that are dazzling and might look wonderful--but do they work for your brand? Putting in some thought before deciding on font can determine your logo's overall success.