What is Typeface

A typeface refers to the design of lettering used in printing and includes within each particular typeface variations such as extra bold, bold, regular, light, italic, etc. Each variation of the typeface is called a font. It must be noted that the term typeface should not be confused with the term font. Historically, before the era of digital typography and desktop publishing, the two terms were clearly defined but nowadays, they are used interchangeably.

Currently, there are thousands of different typefaces with new ones created and developed frequently. The art of developing and creating a typeface is called type design and type designers or developers generally work for type foundries to create new typefaces.

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Each typeface consists of a group of glyphs which represent each letter in the alphabet, number, punctuation mark, or other symbols. Occasionally the same glyphs may use the characters from different scripts. Furthermore, there are specifically designed typefaces that are unique to special applications such as mathematics, science, map-making, and astrology.

The size of a typeface is usually measured in points which in the past has been defined differently in deferent eras. But since the advent of desktop publishing, it has become universal in variants of 1 ⁄ 72 inches (0.0139 in or 0.35 mm)

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Types of Typeface

There are basically five classifications of typefaces which are serif, sans serif, script, monospaced, and display. As a rule of thumb, serif and sans serif typefaces are used for either body copies or for headlines including titles and logos while script and display typefaces are reserved only for headlines.

The Serif typeface is defined by the little line protrusions that stick out from the edges of the letters and are called feet. This allows the typeface to be read easily because those feet create a subtle connection between the letters. Sans Serif typeface is basically the same as the Serif typeface but without the feet. This kind of typeface is generally clean and geometric which makes it easy to read whether they are small or large.

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Script typefaces are fancy and contain a lot of swoops and curls making them look like they are handwritten. Monospaced typeface also known as fixed-pitch, fixed-width or non-proportional font is where the letters and characters each occupy the same amount of horizontal space and is found customarily in typewriters and typesetting computer codes. Finally, display typefaces have a lot more personality and are dressed up. These are used when trying to add a little more flair to designs. It is not the easiest typeface to read but make great attention-getting headlines.

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Importance of using the right typeface in design

The importance of using the right typeface in design especially brands and logos is to make their particular brand or logo stand out and distinguishable. It helps people relate to the brand’s services and establish an identity. When the public sees a brand or logo, the only way to make them remember it is with a creative brand or logo design.

Brands are the unique personality of a business and create a psychological and emotional relationship with its customers. In business, the main objective is to generate profits and typeface plays a crucial role in invoking feelings, creating a mental image as well and formulating trust among its customers.

The readability of the brand and logo is also imperative as when a typeface is chosen by the typeface designers, they want the brand or logo to be easily read. Furthermore, the right colors and graphics are selected to make the typeface more readable.

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The voice of the brand or logo is also important as it gives it an edge. The voice provides direction or message that significantly influences the audience, provoking the right emotions from the reader. If a logo, for example, cannot convey the right message to its readers, the efforts of the designer are wasted. It is always very important for the designer to understand the different ways typeface and typography can improve a design.

A further criterion in logo and brand design is keeping it simple. If a complex typeface is used, it can confuse the reader and lose its purpose. People will not be able to relate to it and the identity will be lost. For example, using Comic Sans and Papyrus do not integrate well for logos. A classic example of a typeface that works well is the Coca Cola logo that uses Spencerian Script typeface which is not only easy to read but has a slight playful appearance. This sets it apart from its competitors and gives its readers a clear message of what the brand is.

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Sending the right message by using the right typeface is essential as well. It is like going to a business meeting wearing sports attire. The kind of typeface chosen says a lot about the kind of business and logo they are getting across. A financial business firm will want to have a typeface such as Optima or Interstate, which sends the message of trust and confidence. However, using this same typeface for a food brand may actually work against them and send a bad message. A typeface that catches the attention of the customer right away is desirable. Choosing the right typeface in a logo can do this. Furthermore, as that particular logo will be used over and over again in letterheads, business cards, and brochures, the typeface must be chosen very carefully and retained for a long period of time.


Using two different typefaces is also a possibility however the designer will need to ensure they complement each other. The size is also of consideration. A good example is the Facebook logo design. Customers are attracted to the characters and they are easy to read and the background compliments the typeface.

Finally, in designing a logo or brand, aa lot of effort on the part of the designer to make it aesthetically appealing happens. If we look at the FedEx logo, the designer has chosen to join the “d” and the “E” in such a way without a space to create not only a unique look but a pleasing one. There is a subtle arrow between the “E” and “X” to convey the message of quick delivery.

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As we can see from above, the selection and use of a typeface in the design and creation of a brand and logo is something that should not be taken lightly. Designers need to research the business’s vision and product completely and evaluate who their target customers are before coming up with a typeface that is appropriate and effective.

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