I recently had a client ask me to make them a custom font for their branding needs. Specifically to be used on their menu, signage, and advertising. They had heard that buying a font was an inexpensive way to get started branding their new business. By no means would I classify myself as a traditionalist, but this unusual way of going about branding surprised me. I was taught you ALWAYS start with a brand identity, otherwise known as a logo.
I was taught you ALWAYS start with a brand identity, otherwise known as a logo.
I could easily see how someone might think that having a custom font would work for their brand identity. We live in a time where you can easily buy and download fonts for less than a hundred US dollars. However, these fonts are by no means custom to your business. Custom fonts, done right are a time intensive endeavor. They are expensive! Most logotype designers start with an already created font and adapt it to their specific clients needs.
Unfortunately, there are some terrible fonts that are prevalent in DIY brand identities. Papyrus…cough cough…Comic Sans. Confession, my first brand identity was a DIY one that employed Papyrus.
When my kiddos were small and I needed something for myself, I created a side hustle called Sudsy Creations.This was back before design school, it was my first of two failed business attempts. I’ve always been creative and interested in design. My wedding (25 years ago) was branded and designed meticulously in plum (not maroon) and silver. Before kiddos, I worked in an insurance marketing office. Excel was the only application that even remotely gave me a way to design. Yours truly sat one afternoon designing my kitchen tile using Excel boxes and filling them with color. I tell you these moments of my past to let you know that while I too champion the DIY drive, brand identity design is more complicated than you think.
Design school helped me to refine my skills and taught me that Adobe products are much more useful for designing. Brand identity design is a strategic process that takes years and a ton of knowledge to hone. It is more than just purchasing, or creating a font to identify your brand. I’ve been a strategic branding designer for 7 years now. The one consistency I have found in good brand identity designers is they all start with research, definitely not a font.
I enjoy research more than the average designer. I love getting lost while delving into different industries.
I start with your competitive landscape, I move on to researching the history of your industry and what has worked for previous companies.
It is only then that I start iterating a unique idea for how to POSITION you in your marketplace and eventually move on to a typeface or hand drawn type that fits your specific needs.
If you are ready to START creating your brand identity, jump on my calendar.