Every choice you make in advertising is a vital one. From colours and images to slogans and brand names, there are many marketing psychology tricks that can influence a potential customer’s choice to buy from your company. Fonts play a surprisingly large part in this choice too. The fonts you choose can communicate different messages to the viewer and dictate how they view your brand or product. For example, bolder advertising fonts are more eye-catching and demanding, suggesting a stronger personality than neutral font choices[i]. Luckily there are plenty of good fonts for posters and other advertising mediums to boost your brand. So whether you’re looking for poster printing or online marketing, here are some of the best fonts for advertising to show your company and its products in the best possible light.
Sans Serif vs Serif: What’s The Difference Between Serif & Sans Serif Fonts?
However, before we start exploring the best fonts for advertising, we must understand the difference between the typefaces, specifically serif and sans serif. These categories are often thrown out when discussing fonts, and you must understand their differences so you can choose the right advertising fonts for you.
Fortunately, recognising the difference between serif & sans serif is easy. A serif font has a decorative stroke called – surprisingly – a serif in its design. A serif, sometimes called the ‘feet’ of a letter, is a small flick at the end of a letter's stem. So, a serif font is a font style that has serifs on the stems of its letters. On the other hand, a sans serif font does not – after all, sans means ‘without’[ii].
We’ve used serif font Times New Roman and sans serif font Helvetica in our example here. As you can see, the Times New Roman font letters are finished off with ornamental serifs, while Helvetica has crisp, clean ends.
Both typeface styles are ever-popular; however, they communicate different messages to their audience.
Designers commonly use serif fonts in newspapers and books, and they emanate traditional and trustworthy values. They date back to the 1700s when letters and plaques were carved into rock, hence why we still view these fonts as classic and refined. Companies that use serif fonts include Vogue, Apple and Giorgia Armani.
On the other hand, sans serif fonts suggest a modern, more approachable brand. Shedding the traditional path of their counterparts, sans serif fonts embrace minimalism and freshness. Moreover, the clean, simple lines of sans serif fonts make them easier to read, which is why web designers favour them for online advertisements[iii]. Companies that use sans serif fonts include Facebook, Google and Spotify.
The Best Fonts for Advertising
Helvetica isn’t all but crowned the most popular font in advertising for no reason. This sans serif font is crisp, clean and neutral and was first used in advertisements dating back to the 1950s. A tall x-height (the distance between the base and top of lowercase letters in a typeface[iv]) and bold lines make Helvetica super easy to read even at a distance. Because of its simplicity and versatility, you can use Helvetica with almost any advertising campaign.
Bodoni Moda was created for the digital age, a professional, modern take on a classic serif typeface. Inspired by the traditional Bodoni font, this version provides sleek, contrasting lines to lend an elegance that the original typeface lacks. Famous designer Massimo Vignelli, known for using only a few typefaces during his career, considered the original classic Bodoni one of his main font types. However, we have a hunch he’d add this unique twist to his list too. With a range of features and sizes available in this contemporary font family, the adaptability of Bodoni Moda makes it great for a range of advertising styles, particularly sleek, modern businesses and products.
Found on an array of surprising products, including Monopoly boards, album covers and wine bottles, Copperplate has been a popular font style since its release in 1901. It manages to achieve a mix of serif and sans serif typefaces, with tiny, elegant serifs setting off the sturdiness of the letters, creating a style that is easy to read and extremely noticeable. Although it has become a little generic since its introduction, Copperplate is still a favourite typeface among advertisers and designers because of its stylish neutrality.
Inspired by the Roman alphabet design (the designers even took its name from a Roman emperor and tributes left to him), Trajan is a serif font introduced in 1989 for Adobe. The font is rather imperial in design, emulating the letters that Romans chiselled into stone, and has a stylish yet unyielding presence. Although perhaps not as popular as other advertising fonts on our list, Trajan certainly has a popular stance in typography, with corporate and clothing brands including the font in their projects. Trajan is a perfect font for any format and is best used to represent a traditional, dependable brand with strong values and beliefs.
Avenir is a modern classic sans serif font designed by Adrain Frutiger, one of the most iconic typographers of the 20th century. Its name is French for ‘future’, paying homage to the Futura font that this typeface takes its inspiration from while giving it a unique, contemporary twist. Frutiger intended Avenir to be used in a bold format for white on black text, as it would still look the same as black on white. However, Avenir is one of the most downloaded fonts on the internet[v] and will give any design a new shape and outlook, whether you opt to use the designer’s preferred colours or not.
The Sentinel family of fonts comes with six weights and italic options, offering a variety of choices to create both displays and body text. A serif typeface designed in 2009 to combat the shortcomings of several similar font types, Sentinel is a flexible design style that works perfectly with other typefaces as well as on its own. Most commonly used in magazines, posters and graphic design, the professional, smooth finish Sentinel lends to a design piece makes it best suited for modern, bold campaigns.
For an elegant touch to your advertisements, Petunia is a fantastic choice. Delicate but readable, this serif style is a modern equivalent to the traditional Copperplate font, with an upgraded, user-friendly style. The author of this font family, Eliza Gwendalyn, took inspiration from the infamous children’s story Alice in Wonderland, giving the calligraphy style a whimsical appeal that makes it perfect for more amorous advertisements, such as Valentine’s Day campaigns or wedding-related advertisements and businesses.
Arial is another easily recognisable sans serif font and has been since Microsoft Windows included it in their design. However, it’s been around since 1982, when a team designed it for laser printing. Although Arial has had some controversy due to its close resemblance to Helvetica and supposedly inferior design, it still stands the test of time. It’s easy to read, clean and neutral, and looks great in a range of colours and designs. Although many designers would not recommend using Arial for print work, it is well adapted for online motifs and advertisements.
Impact’s large lettering and bold design draw the eye and – pardon the pun – make an impact that lives up to its name. The sans serif font was specifically designed for posters, but designers have since adapted it to work just as well in smaller sizes, meaning you can use it in a range of advertisements. Most famously, Microsoft Windows released this typeface in their web packages and, more recently, many famous memes across the internet. Its striking appearance is bound to make passing eyes look twice and is best suited to modern advertisements looking to leave a lasting impression.
Brush script is a creative typeface that aims to emulate the handwriting of letters with ink, like calligraphy. Known as a casual connecting script typeface, brush script is made up of ebullient strokes that create a stylish finish. However, some would argue that brush script can be too difficult for viewers to read. Although brush script has had its ups and downs in the design world, more people are embracing the font for its nostalgic feeling, particularly in relation to the post World War Two era. For this reason, we’d recommend using this font for a more traditional brand or advertisement, particularly one that is trying to stir up nostalgia.
Choosing The Right Advertising Fonts
Many choices go into elements of advertising, and making the right decision could be the difference between the introduction of a new customer and a lost opportunity. However, now you can rest assured that choosing a font won’t be a problem for you with our best fonts for advertising!
Consider the message you want your brand to communicate plus the effect of sans serif and serif fonts on viewers, and your font will make your entire advertising campaign!
Which fonts do you prefer using in your advertisements? Let us know in the comments!
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