Typography gives brands a competitive advantage

Typography gives brands a competitive advantage

Typography gives brands a competitive advantage-1
Words by Georgina Hannekum
Better Known – Thinking

Typography gives brands a competitive advantage

New research reveals typography gives brands a competitive advantage and some people are more emotional about fonts than others. 

Monotype, one of the world’s leading font and technology specialists, recently released an in-depth study on the power of different fonts to convey an emotional response.

Key findings:

  • The right typography influences brand recognition
  • Typography provides a sense of security to consumers
  • Typography gives brands a competitive advantage

The research was conducted in the UK and in France*, and found that the French have more emotional responses when viewing typography than their British counterparts. The findings highlight both the power of typography to convey different “feelings” – and significant national differences in emotional response to type.

The research findings confirmed the hypothesis that typography, even in the absence of colour, logo, movement or any other traditional visual identity element, plays a crucial role in eliciting an emotional response from audiences.

Respondents in France reacted differently to typography than those in the UK and in general, typography provoked stronger emotions amongst consumers in France.

Participants were presented with three contrasting typefaces that are not currently in use by brands: FS Jack, a non-humanist font; Gilroy, a non-geometric font; and Cotford, an indolent serif font. Each typeface was applied to three types of stimuli: individual words, a sentence using these words and a sentence containing these words in reference to a brand. Respondents rated the combinations on a range of emotional measures, such as sincerity, memorability, trustworthiness or confidence.

For trust, there was a clear response – France felt more confidence (14%), honesty (5%) and sincere (8%) emotions/motivations towards the word, whilst the UK found it more innovative (9%), prominent (11%) and memorable (7%).

For quality, France found the word more honest (11%), relevant (8%), sincere (8%) and trustworthy (10%), whilst the UK found it more innovative (4%), prominent (19%) and memorable (15%).

For innovation, France found the word more innovative (9%) than the UK, but scores lower on all other emotional and motivational responses (2%-13%).

So, ‘quality’ and ‘trust’ had a greater emotional connection in France than in the UK, and innovation stands out as very important.

Gilroy font
FS Jack font
Cotford font

What does typography say about your brand?

Typography plays a crucial role in brand identity design and can significantly impact how a brand is perceived by audiences.


Typography helps brands stand out. Consistent and recognisable typography helps consumers associate specific fonts with a particular brand, enhancing brand recall and differentiation.

Bespoke typefaces are an excellent way of ensuring differentiation. Apple has been using bespoke typefaces since the 1980’s and in 2015 Apple released San Francisco, their latest custom font.

With clean, compact shapes, subtle roundness, and ample space between letters, San Francisco was designed for maximum legibility on the Apple Watch and beyond. The font replaced the previously off-the-shelf fonts used in its interfaces from 2000 to 2014.

Brand personality

First impressions count, and nowhere is this more important or relevant than in branding. When a consumer encounters a brand, one of the first things they notice is the typeface and the message it is communicating. Some typefaces communicate strength, modernity, or creativity – while others offer a more retro, playful, or informal feel.

By selecting appropriate typography, brands can align their visual language with their desired brand personality, creating a strong and consistent brand image.

Readability and accessibility

Effective typography enhances readability, making it easier for customers to engage with a brand's messaging. Clear and legible fonts contribute to a positive user experience – from print to digital. Furthermore, accessibility such as font size, spacing, and contrast can make a brand's content more inclusive and user-friendly for individuals with visual impairments.

Brand consistency

Typography is a vital element of brand consistency. Establishing a set of guidelines for font usage ensures that all brand communications, across various channels and touchpoints, maintain a cohesive visual identity. Consistency builds trust and familiarity, allowing customers to recognise and connect with the brand more effectively.

Typography is an essential aspect of brand identity and can provide a competitive advantage by helping brands differentiate themselves, convey their personality, enhance readability, ensure consistency, and establish emotional connections with their audience. By investing in thoughtful typography, brands can strengthen their visual presence and better communicate with their audiences.

Better Known is a creative consultancy building better brands at the intersection of people and technology. 

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