Branding is a long and tedious process, and it usually takes at least a few months to get from start to finish. The creatives involved in this spend countless hours, even on the tiniest branding elements, to ensure your brand is unique. One of these elements is fonts or typefaces. Some creatives can spend weeks deciding on which font suits your brand. Here’s our guide to font psychology with examples of popular brand fonts.

Font Psychology of Font Types

1. Serif

Serif fonts are the traditional fonts on print. These fonts have small strokes attached to larger lines. Many design experts say that serif fonts resemble old-style handwriting. That said, serif fonts present a more professional and classic look. Additionally, brands can be perceived as trustworthy with this font. Plus, serif fonts are ideal for printed materials. Classics like Times New Roman and Garamond are two popular examples of this font style.

Some brands that use a serif font for their logos are:

  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Yale
  • Dior
  • Vogue

Many experts consider Slab serif as a separate font type. However, this font style falls under the serif family and has blockier characteristics than thin or light weight serif types.

2. Sans Serif

A sans serif is a font without small strokes. “Sans” means “without” in French. Some brands use this to present a more modern or hip brand. This font style is used for the body or text of any medium since it’s legible and readable. Many tech brands use sans serif because of its contemporary style. Helvetica, Roboto, and Futura are well-known sans serif fonts.

Popular brands that use sans serif on their logos are:

  • Google
  • Spotify
  • Burberry
  • Jeep
  • Uber

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3. Script

Most brands use serif and sans serif fonts for their legibility. That’s why script or cursive fonts aren’t the first choice for many businesses. However, this font type shows that brands can have a timeless look. Additionally, script fonts are ideal for showing off creativity. Sometimes, they can also be a sign of elegance! The popular cursive logos are the Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, and Barbie logos.

Handwritten fonts can fall under the script or cursive styles. However, handwritten fonts add a more personal touch to your brand. This is ideal for fashion brands, which act as the designer’s signature. 

4. Display

Display fonts are unique since they serve a purpose in the visual hierarchy. Many display fonts are used as headers or logos. They don’t usually conform to the usual styles seen above and are custom-made for brands created by professional typographers. In some cases, some display typefaces can be based on sans serif or serif fonts. Most display fonts are published or displayed on billboards, websites, or magazines.

Stories Behind the Fonts

1. MailChimp – Means

The well-known marketing platform uses a custom serif typeface called Means, created by Greg Gazdowicz. The platform used Cooper Black but didn’t fully capture their overall personality. Means was designed to evoke a trustworthy and sincere brand. 

They even distinguish between the light weights and rounded corners. The light weights are for editorial use, while the rounded corners give them a unique look. In addition to Means, they use Graphik to balance their workhorse typeface.

2. Netflix – Netflix Sans

The streaming giant invested in its bespoke typeface to give it a unique brand. According to It’s Nice That, Netflix Sans was a marriage between display and function. Plus, Noah Nathan, the lead brand designer for their rebrand, described the typefaces as cinematic for uppercase text and compact and efficient for the lowercase ones. 

3. Duolingo – Feather Bold & DIN Next Rounded

Here’s another brand with their custom typography. The Feather Bold typeface is specifically made for headlines to get recognized by users. The Feather Bold typography reflects their fun, quirky, and educational brand. They also use the sans serif DIN Next Rounded typeface for marketing purposes. Plus, having these two fonts contrasts each other out.

4. Burger King – Flame

If you want to show “deliciousness” on a font, take a look at how Burger King uses their personalized font, Flame. The font psychology behind the Flame font is to show that customers can crave their food with one look because of the roundness and organic design. The fast-casual restaurant describes their font as irreverent.

5. Freepik – Degular

Freepik is a site where you can find photos for your graphic designs! Recently, the image site rebranded to a more modern look. They use Degular to present a fun, creative, and accessible brand. Their logo is a great example, showing that they sprinkle joy into their work and the site.

6. Instacart – Instacart Sans

Here’s another brand that uses bespoke typography. Instacart boasts a typeface family that shows enjoyment and efficiency. The brand states that Instacart Sans is about function. It’s used for product experience. Meanwhile, they also have Instacart Contrast for headlines and their special occasions.

7. Realm – Roc Grotesk and Libre Baskerville

Check out this other brand using two typefaces, depending on its use. Mother Design created the Realm branding. First, they use Roc Grotesk alongside the Ruby mascot to show a friendly but strange personality. Second, they use the Libre Baskerville font since it is ideal for reading.

8. Tia – Inferi and Basis Grotesque

Athletics NYC wanted to build Tia as a sophisticated brand since the brand wanted to show competency. The logo has a youthful appearance. However, their editorial styles are more functional. Inferi is for the headers, while Basis Grotesque is for the subheadings and body. These fonts show excellence and sophistication as more women connect with Tia.

9. Henkel – Henkel GT Flexa

Henkel wanted to modernize its overall brand to become progressive and future-ready. They tapped Meta Design to help them with brand positioning. The Henkel logo remains the same, ensuring its heritage sticks as the brand progresses. Meanwhile, the typography reflects its new dynamic and innovative brand.

10. Buffy

The Buffy logo shows us that you can get inspiration from existing typography but make yourself stand out from the crowd. Pentagram worked on the Buffy design, using the Cooper Black font as inspiration for the fluffy look of the logo. The design also shows that Buffy has a warm and outgoing personality.