How can something so small, be such a big discussion point? A font does everything from representing the brand, to increasing legibility. This is the first time since the iPhone original launch that we have seen Apple use two different fonts for its devices. Named, simply, ‘San Francisco’: The new font is sleeker, clear, easy to read and is displayed across all of the devices in a subtle manner. It is specifically designed to be easier to read on smaller devices – i.e, the Apple watch. This font change is so significant because not only is it the first design change to Apple’s unique and timeless style for years: it also recognises the implications of the future, and has ensured Apple will be able to adapt to new technology in years to come. The font change illustrates a key point in the world of design: design can be used to evolve and adapt your brand and to speak volumes about where your brand is going. It also opened up another discussion for businesses all over the world – what font are you using, and why is it so important you get it right?
Let’s look at why a font is so important.
Recently, Creative Market put together a humorous article on fonts that designers love to hate, fonts that have continually harmed businesses since their development. It covers everything from the notorious Comic Sans, to the sturdy Times New Roman. Check out the article here. Why are these fonts so wrong, if a font is just a font? Let’s take a look at Comic Sans: used by every beginner business since the dawn of time. We’ve seen this font used on everything: from primary school homework, to village fete posters, to business websites!
The font itself is quirky, rounded, it emanates friendliness, hence it’s popularity. However, because of this, and because of it’s years as a font of choice for school children and community events, when a business uses this font, they can very easily send out the wrong message, downplay their brand and appear naive.
Looking at another example used in Creative Market’s article, we see Times New Roman: it’s a traditional font, simple but bold – traditionally what you would find in a novel or almost any essay or assignment. In a digital age, some would argue that Times New Roman can appear old fashioned, or an obvious choice. It needs to be used in the right context, for example would it look good fronting a sports brand?
Unconsciously, the font can tell us so much about the businesses around us. The well known statistic that we make up our minds about the people we meet in seven seconds, is true of brands as well: we may just not be aware our brains are doing it! This is why it is so important to choose a font and type that can represent your brand across all mediums and show off your personality and values. Apple is a shining example of a business that has asked itself the key question: ‘What does our font say about us?’ and tweaked this accordingly, keeping it relevant far into the future.