Subscribe to the Blog with or | Post Updated: September 14th, 2016 | 1st Posted: June 13, 2013
Posted by: Graham Smith in Categories: Tips & Advice, Typography
I certainly understand that choosing the right font for a logo design can seem to some clients to be a complete mystery that will get them so worked up that they refuse to want anything to do with it.
I guess with some clients that might be a good idea, but there are certainly some clients that might be better at selecting a font than they themselves realise.
I'm not necessarily talking about giving a client a 'blank sheet' and expect them to do your job for you, neither am I suggesting you SHOULD always give your client a choice, but there is place and time during the course a logo design where a clients input might make the client feel more part of the design process.
I know it might seem obvious to some of you, but I do know some designers who refuse to allow their clients any where near making a font choice because said designer has already got the final design signed-off in their head, even if the client doesn't know it yet.
So I thought I would just scribble a few words about this important part of the logo design process.
I often find myself asking the client to choose from a selection of fonts that I have carefully and thoughtfully sifted though, often after days of searching and scanning 100's and 100's of options.
Yet when I present this carefully curated list of font options the client can often remark, "I don't know what I'm looking at because I know very little about fonts." This is a honest response, but I also then feel that a client can make the idea of choosing a font to be so hideously difficult that they simply shut-down at the very idea of being asked to make a choice.
It's important to explain to the client that you would not allow them to make a drastically bad decision, or choose a font that technically or aesthetically is totally inappropriate, but at the same time giving them some confidence to take part in the evolution of their logo.
If you don't make it clear that you are the font 'gate' keeper, then they might reasonable presume they could choose completely the wrong font which is where the anxiety usually comes from.
Often at this point in a logo projects evolution, the logo mark has been signed off, the general style of the font has also been approved: say a strong serif font (see above for Viva Chocolat: I used this selection as the final selection for the client to choose from, but I did thrown in a wild card).
You've found a selection of approximately 12 serif fonts that you feel would work, but now would like the client to see if there is one from this 'final' selection that they like.
It's not them choosing life or death here, it's giving them the opportunity to make a style choice that's not going to break a logo into a million pieces.
I might say to them that it''s more about looking at a font style as a form of dress or suit: does it fit the body shape well, is it styled in a manor that is pleasing to you, and overall does it look appropriate to represent your brand.
One will know if a suit or dress is inappropriate for a certain event, we even know what's acceptable for just going down the pub on a Friday. That decision would be much much easier then if you had your partner pick out 6 suits/dresses for you, and asked you to choose one knowing that all 6 would be suitable.
All you need to do now is not worry about picking a suit that is going to be a disaster because you trust your partner to know exactly what is appropriate, so you can now breathe a little easier knowing that you can now choose one that best reflects the look you want to give.
The client needs to know that you have carefully selected a range of fonts that any one of would work, but one will, or could be, more preferable to the client even for a reason they might not understand.
Simply might just be a gut feeling, or something else as to what font they choose.
Asking a client to choose a font doesn't need to be a massively anxiety filled decision, or even one that is technically or right or wrong.
You can also encourage them to try and give 'simple' reasons for any choice they make as they might surprise themselves, and you for that matter, by actually coming up with something that is valid and appropriate.
"Ultimately I wouldn't let you choose a font that was totally wrong, inappropriate in any way!"*
*Although there are cases where a client will insist of a font choice that is a complete disaster even after your passionate pleas to listen to reason. Sometimes you simply can't get through and have experienced reason taken seriously.
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