For FONT’s sake . . .

Today I received a letter from a classical music organisation announcing their 2014 schedule, as every major yearly programmer is doing at the moment. Although something felt strange as I was reading through the letter . . .

FontsWhen it comes to branding, there is one thing that every strong brand has . . . a style guide! Basically it is a bunch of dos and don’ts when it comes to the use of a certain logo or the use of an organisation’s name.

For example, when Coles sponsor Masterchef they will draw up an agreement as to where their logo is placed, what font is used for text that refers to their logo and what colours can be placed in the background. And all these specifications will be heavily based on the style guide.

Well, this interesting letter used a couple of different techniques to draw attention to certain words. Whether it was highlighting of certain important words in bold, pointing out only select repertoire choices in italics or underlining some rather emphatic and high points of their program, all these different stylistic choices were there.

Now, each of the Microsoft Word font functions play an important role in the context in which they are used. But if they are used too often and there is too much drawing your attention, the words that stand out are the boring ones that nobody felt the need to bold, italicise or underline. Mostly because these are now the interesting words for the reason that they are so plain!

But there was one additional thing that this letter did which really messed with my head. It decided to increase the size of the guest artists’ names. And unfortunately all this does is mess with your head when you are trying to read something. In fact, it is so distracting that I couldn’t tell you a single piece of information about their 2014 program. All I can tell you is that they need to create a carefully considered style guide!

The choices that are made regarding style are possibly some of the most important that you will make during your marketing decisions. The type of font that is used, the size and the colour all give the audience member an impression of the show that they are going to see. And if the show you provide doesn’t match the impression of the audience member – well, then you may be in for some rather disappointing or confused reviews!

Let me illustrate my point. Check out the following logos for RENT (after the original) which I have doctored to feature a different font and see if you would expect to be seeing a musical about the grungy and bohemian aspect of New York kin the 1990s if you saw one of the doctored logos!

Original Rent Logo

Original Rent Logo

Country 'Hoe-down' Rent Logo

Country ‘Hoe-down’ Rent Logo

Comic Sans Rent Logo

Comic Sans Rent Logo