Every day we are exposed to at least 10,000 brands without even realising it, and every brand uses typography in some form or the other. We see it on the packaging, mobile apps, billboards, magazines, signs, menus and books we read. As a result, typography directly impacts how we perceive and experience brands through their products, services or communication. Like the cryptic, coded world in the movie Matrix, typography surrounds us in a way that very few design elements do in the real world, influencing us in ways we can’t imagine.
Craft meets science
Typography is a facet of design so seemingly minuscule yet mighty in its ability to affect how we feel and interpret a brand. Typography acts like the body language of a brand, starting with the first impression and influencing how much time we want to spend interacting with the brand. Good typography can enhance the brand’s personality, add character to the tone of voice, and narrate the brand vision in a simple form of a brandmark. It has the sublime power to influence how those words are perceived, and it is scientifically proven, backed by years of research and data. So, whether we like it or not, customers will have either a positive or negative perception of your brand through the choice of typefaces.
A powerful tool in the brand universe
A significant part of successful branding is about creating a visually appealing and consistent brand universe. From its logo to its website content, typography covers many mediums. People buy into the brand not just for its product or services but also for its experience. Brands must create a beautiful experience for the customers, and one good way to do that is through clear, legible, and appropriate typography. Whether we want our brand to come across as quirky, professional, bold, minimalistic, fresh or classic, it plays a crucial role. Typography can harness strong semiotic associations that hamper or elevate brand personality. Forming memorable associations isn’t just a matter of telling a compelling story. It’s also about how it reads, looks and experiences.
Metamorphous of type through time
Companies and brands have used typography as a tool since the beginning of the industrial revolution with the invention of the printing press. However, we have come a long way from there. We have seen its impactful implications during the capitalist economy in the mid-1900’s century through the advertising and publication industry. The globalisation of brands required them to consistently communicate in local languages. Entertainment and technological advancement gave birth to a new form of moving types. With the beginning of the new millennium, the Internet compelled designers to rethink the purpose and functionality of type, digital interaction through typography was never so critical and fun.
Type in the boardroom
As social currencies and personal branding platforms gain more control of our life, we are currently seeing a phase of dynamic, personality-driven, and conscious type. We as humans are expressing more with fonts than ever before in our reels, posts, and things we create or gift. A good brand creator/manager now understands the purpose and the power of typography and its inherent ability to adapt with time and mediums to create an extraordinary experience. Investing in custom brand typefaces or brand signature fonts has become a must for companies. Successful brands, big or small, understand the equity of typography and what it can bring to the table.
Recently, the Indian design industry has seen the value and recognised the importance of regional type design and designers, helping Indian and global brands maximise their reach across India to communicate in various scripts about a brand-led harmonious expression.
The type for the future
During every stage of typography evolution, technology has undoubtedly played a massive role in its betterment and acceptability among viewers and users. It has been a powerful brand tool for yesterday and will be for tomorrow. It is advancing and adapting to our rapidly changing world, harmoniously weaving layers after layers around us in a meaningful and purposeful way. It will continue to have a massive significance in the brand universe as technology advances.
Now, as we transcend from the world of video games to the metaverse, from 6 x 3 inches screens to the panoramic multi-layered immersive world, designers are using Ai to accelerate the purpose and forms of typographic expression to leapfrog into a multiverse of its endless avatars. Living, adapting, and ever-changing to create a highly personalised and immersive experience for brands. And in the real world, it will constantly reinvent itself to be more meaningful, purposeful, emotional and valuable. As every evolution liberates its past tools and mediums, typography will always stand at the pinnacle of design tools for the brand universe due to its ability to adapt, evolve and play a purposeful role in human communication and experience.
The writer is the creative director of Landor & Fitch India. Views expressed are personal.