Ministry Branding – Typography
This week in our ministry branding series we are going to address typography. Last week I said that color can be underrated in it’s importance related to your ministries brand. Typography is, if not the most, one of the most underrated pieces to any brand. We find that typography often gets the least amount of attention when ministries build their own brands. In fact, we see a lot of designers that will take shortcuts when choosing typography in the brand development process. We believe that’s a huge mistake. Instead of talking about the rules of typography, HERE is a great article on that subject, today’s post is going to highlight typography in relation to your supporter experience. I want to try and show how typography affects your supporter’s experience with your brand.
The use of typography, whether the right or wrong, affects your audience’s experience in a very impactful way. Remember, your customer experience is what creates strong brand loyalty and hopefully brand advocacy. The use of typography can make the experience enjoyable, or it can hinder your audience from consuming your content and following your story. The difference with type over the other pieces of your brand is that it affects the user at a sub-conscious level more than it does at a surface level. Gambling on your brand at a sub-conscious level is dangerous and should be avoided.
Just like every other piece of your brand, choosing the right typography for your brand experience comes down to research. Who are you speaking to, what is your voice, and what is the best way to speak to that audience?
Generally speaking, fonts can be broken down into sans-serif and serif fonts. Serif fonts have decorative features at the end of some of the letters in the alphabet. Sans-serif fonts, sans meaning “without,” do not have those decorative features. Serif fonts tend to be more formal in nature, while sans-serif fonts tend to be more casual. However, that is just a general rule and isn’t always true.
There are many things to take into consideration when choosing fonts for optimal user or customer experience. You want to make sure that you choose fonts that are visually appealing. If you are building a brand that uses multiple fonts, those fonts need to work well together. Most importantly though, you want to make sure that you choose fonts with great readability. Studies have been done to try and determine whether sans-serif fonts are easier to read than serif fonts and vice versa. In all the research we’ve looked through we haven’t found a study that proves one form of font is more readable than the other. HERE is a good article on the studies we’ve looked into for our own research. The important thing is that you choose a font that is readable. Remember, everything must pass through the “customer experience filter.”
Much of your customer experience will lie, or at least should lie, in consuming content. We can talk more about content creation at a later time. If your font choice makes it difficult for your target audience to consume your content, then that customer experience will fall short. Choose fonts that make content consumption easy and effortless. Written words are key in telling any story, right? Your story must be easy to read.
I’ve already made this statement, but I will continue to reiterate, your ministry brand experience is strongest when it is consistent. If you want a strong customer/user experience, there should not be a customer touch point that isn’t consistent with your brand. This is true across all mediums and formats. Once upon a time we only had a select few font choices when building websites. Today, the choices are endless and there is no reason that your typography is not consistent across your website and printed materials.
At Reliant Creative, we like to us Typekit when choosing our fonts. When you make a font choice it easily syncs to all of our adobe software. The most important option for us is that we can search and choose fonts by whether or not the font is web safe. This gives us assurance that when we build the website, something that often takes place after the brand has been developed, we will have chosen a font for the brand that we can use online. That way, when our clients target audience sees the printed materials, they are consistent with the website, and vice versa. Typography consistency is key in creating a great customer experience.
Ministry Brand Experience
Just like most of our previous posts in this series, the end goal when choosing font should be creating a great brand experience for your supporters. Produce great content, tell a great story, but make that content easy to consume. A couple weeks ago I talked about the importance of great messaging for any brand. Messaging is how you speak to your audience, the words you use, and the voice that you speak with when communicating. Great messaging is crucial to any great brand experience. The tool that is used to convey great messaging is typography. You can have an incredible message, but if your delivery device is broken your message will suffer.
Typography is the visual aspect of your brand that brings everything together. It is the link between your visuals and your words, which is what all brands are made of at their core.