For the general population, a logo is the first point of contact between a brand and a client. It’s the first interaction with a company or a brand. It’s the starting point to recognize a brand so it’s crucial that the designers of the logo correctly incorporate the message the new brand wants to seed into the minds of all of its potential clients into the graphical representation that is the logo.
A good logo stands out. It has distinguishing characteristics while also still being appropriate, practical, aesthetically pleasing and simple. A good logo needs to follow a number of basic design principles which can be summed up into 5 easy to remember keywords: simplicity, memorability, longevity, versatility and last but not least, appropriateness.
That being said, choosing the correct font for your logo is absolutely crucial and it can either make or break your logo and a business with a bad logo is more or less doomed to failure. To help you out with designing the correct logo for your business, we’ve put together a list of 5 fonts you should NOT use when creating your logo.
- Brush Script [Brush Script MT]
Developed in the early 1940s, Brush Script was created by Robert E. Smith for the American Type Founders (ATF) and the idea behind Brush Script was to create something that emulated cursive writing, which is why the lower case letters present in Brush Script are in fact irregular in size and shape. Keep in mind that we’re talking about the 1940s, when modern technology as we know it today was still in its crib, barely finding its legs and the point behind something like this was to in a way pave the way for technology to imitate life.
However, there are certain issues with the design and style of Brush Script that simply cannot be overlooked.
Simply put, it is unnatural. Yes, it is supposed to look like a person’s handwriting and yes, when a person writes something by hand, the letters are never perfect, nor are they ever the exact same size, shape, or at the exact same angle every time because there are too many variables that affect the way a person’s hand moves on a piece of paper at any given time. With Brush Script, however, there are no imperfections what so ever. No smudges, no creases, no imperfect weight distribution that creates faint but distinctive differentiations in letters, no nothing. It tries to imitate the handwriting of an actual person; however, it is too perfect for it to ever pass as the handwriting of a human and as such looks cold and impersonal.
The whole point of Brush Script was to create a way for corporations to come across as casual or more friendly in correspondence, to make corporate communication look and feel slightly less…well, corporate and in a way it did achieve its desired purpose, however in the following three decades it became so over-used in print and advertising, that in a way it in fact emblematic for the 70s and 80s.
In a lot of ways there is nothing wrong with that and in even more ways in its time Brush Script was a great success, however we are in 2016 and you’re designing a logo FOR 2016 so it would be a very good idea to stay far away from anything that gives people a flash back from 30 years ago because your business is fresh and new and your logo should send that message as well.
If you do decide that something that mimics human handwriting is the way to go for your logo and your business, then you do have options. Brush Script inspired dozens, if not hundreds of other fonts that are meant to look like handwriting (e. g. Mistral, Chalkduster, Avalon, Reporter, Riva, Café Mimi, Calliope, and HT Gelateria to name a few) some of which actually look very good, however regardless of how well they look, fonts of this type will never be able to convince anyone that they were not generated by a computer due to their technical precision, even though they are deliberately made to look like they are imperfect. As much as they will try to imitate the beauty that comes with the imperfections of something that is created by a human hand, unfortunately they will never succeed.
- Bradley Hand [Bradley Hand ITC]
Here we find ourselves pretty much in the same situation as Brush Script so please keep in mind the same points for Bradley Hand that I have made above regarding Brush Script (so I don’t have to waste too much of your time on this one and so I don’t have to repeat myself), and at the same time ad this to the list of reasons why you should NOT choose this font for your logo.
Yes, it is true that in a lot of ways fonts that imitate handwriting send a message of added personality in a way that the classic and most used professional fonts, like Helvetica or Arial, simply do not do, however in practice these types of fonts (and Bradley Hand in particular) simply come off as tacky, disingenuous, kitschy and lacking anything close to authenticity because it’s pretty much a cheap imitation of the real thing. And not even a good one, in this case.
Bradley Hand simply looks cheap. It will look cheap on a logo and it will look even cheaper on a business card, a business portfolio, a proposal, a memorandum, you name it. It will simply look cheap and it will make your logo, and in turn your business, look cheap.
- Snap [Snap ITC]
There is nothing wrong, per se, with Snap. The issue with it, however, has everything to do with your logo and brand.
Depending on what your company does, the font you choose can or cannot be appropriate for the job.
When it comes to Snap, the real issue is where your logo is going to be and what it’s going to be printed on. Will it be on a business card? Will it be on the side of a car? Will it be on a name tag, or on a T-shirt?
These are all things that could make Snap (and other fonts like it) unusable because it’s simply not versatile enough.
It could look good on a blog or a website, but what if your needs for the logo are for it to look good on a shop window? It needs to be distinguishable from a distance and it needs to be very easy to read, whereas Snap, from a distance, at least, would be illegible.
What if, like I said, your logo needs to go on a car, or a van, or a truck or even maybe on the side of a bus? Vehicles are great ways to advertise because they move around. They’re often in motion so you have a good chance that every single person the vehicle passes by will see your logo, however what’s the point of them seeing it at all if it’s going to pass by them and they didn’t have enough time to read your logo and remember what it says if the logo isn’t easy to read? The point is for the logo to take a split second to imprint on someone’s memory so they can then recognize it later when they see it again. But with something like Snap, the only impression it’s going to make on someone is that your logo is a bad logo because it wasn’t easy to read.
- Papyrus [Papyrus]
Some would argue that there is nothing technically wrong with Papyrus; however, in the design world, it’s one of the most hated fonts.
Designers consider this font to be cheap, tacky and a little childish and despite the fact that there are companies that actually use this font in their logos, there are actually blogs about why designers hate Papyrus (I’m not joking, look it up).
While the customer is always right, and the designer’s job is to give the customer what they want, you should listen to your designer on this one. They do this for a living.
Papyrus is highly overused, and there truly is such a thing as too much of a good thing. There is a reason why big corporations don’t use, for instance, Times New Roman in their logos, and that’s because it’s everywhere. Literally everywhere. Actually, come to think about it, you should probably stay away from Times New Roman and any other overused fonts as well.
- Curlz[Curlz MT]
Curlz is only appropriate for typing up the invitations to a 13 year old girl’s birthday party on pink cardboard with glittery hearts. It’s childish, unprofessional, annoying, and impractical.
The idea behind Curlz was to have something quirky, whimsical, cute and decorative, however unless your business is a kindergarten, a cupcake shop or a business that tries to sell various things to preteen girls you’re in for a lot of trouble if you pick Curlz.
Think of all of the successful businesses you know. Now think about their logos.
Do any of them use Curlz?
Didn’t think so.
In closing, if you’re thinking about branding your business, think very carefully when picking the font for your logo. Humans are by design visual creatures and rely on what they see more than anything so the right logo will guarantee either the success or the failure of your business so choose wisely and Good Luck!