What Makes a Bad Typeface, And How To Fix It

Using typography in your brand is more like laying brick to make a foundation. It will help build communication to your clients. It can help hold your brand structure, and define what kind of company you are.

Now, you are probably thinking “You’re telling me A’s, T’s and G’s have some kind of impact? You’re crazy, Mr. Blog Man.”

But think about it— consider the Rolling Stone’s magazine title. Most people can quickly visualize the unique type they use for their branding.

Another example with a very distinguished type face is Marlboro. You can’t really think of it right away like the Rolling Stone cover, but if you saw a sign, you could quickly recognize their brand and who they are.

Typography example

Here’s an example by David Carson, who shows 2 doors, both with the same information: “No parking.” But only one of these doesn’t come off as a weird serial killer who will jump out and steal you and your car.

Typography can really carry your message, sometimes in a bad way. 

“Bad” Type

So Mr. Blogger Guy, what makes a bad typeface? Well, I’ll tell you.

A lot of people think typomaniacs look at type and can deem it bad or good. But all type has a purpose. Sometimes, characters can be hideous and illegible, but what makes type “bad” is how it’s used and how it communicates.

Using goofy Comic Sans on your government forms: bad.

Using hard-to-read Papyrus in your subtitles: bad.

Using boring, straightforward Helvetica when you’re looking for personality: bad.

Most type was created for a reason and to serve a purpose. In the end, it’s really about what you want the type to say about you and your company.

Fixing your Fonts

Using serif fonts lets your audience know you’re more human and personal. San Serifs are more straightforward, and are usually used to bring loud information forward.

Also, san serifs are useful for screens. San serifs, with their straight-edged pixels, are able to make more accurate weights with less distortion.

These are just umbrella rules for the two more popular type styles. These rules can be broken, depending on what you want to say.

Finding something unique and uncommon could help get you in front of your competitors. Thanks to the Internet, type is so easy to find, and threre’s so much of it (300,000 fonts and counting).

Nowadays, we are kind of uptight about our fonts. People begin to lose sight of the fact that every time you buy a font, you’re paying someone’s bills. Typographers spend on average a day on each character, and there are 40,000+ known characters.

So break away from the default fonts in Word and Google fonts. Look into sites like www.myfonts.com, www.fontshops.com, or type kit. All of these services keep typographers employed,  and you can find your brand voice through their uniquely crafted characters.

What does your company’s font say about you?