12 Most Overused Fonts that Can Damage Your Brand Image
The lack of brand discipline is something I come across often when I work with small businesses; and the lack of it can be very damaging indeed. Consistency, exposure, and exposure of a consistent brand are absolutely essential if you are going to build name recognition for your brand. In order to achieve that, you need to have image guidelines that ALL of your employees follow. One of those guidelines must include a company font to be used on all communications, presentations, etc.
THAT font will speak to your brand forever. In order to make sure it has strength, here are 12 fonts you should avoid at all costs:
1. Comic Sans
I am sure that no one is surprised that this is #1. Comic sans may have been cute and playful once upon a time, but since every one and their mother has used it for every homemade sign and logo ever made, avoid it like the plague. It should NEVER, ever be used in corporate settings.
I know you think this has a “natural, beachy” feel, but it doesn’t. That has been worn off with overuse. It now appears stale and used up.
So you think it’s strong and professional, and it’s just perfect for your law firm/accounting agency/serious business. If you want to look like everyone else in your industry, have at it.
Going for the cute and perky look is not a bad thing for certain industries, but doing it with the same font ad nauseum does nothing but destroy your uniqueness.
This one saddens me because, once upon a time, it was stunning and fresh. Sadly, like all of the others it has been beaten to death. Don’t be tempted; Mistral is like John Mayer — once deeply attractive but now totally overexposed… keep looking.
Unless you are an athletic department circa 1945, run for the hills. Every single high school on the planet does not have to use the same font.
7. Brush Script
Like Mistral, many think Brush Script has just the right amount of pizzazz, but it doesn’t. At its best it was only ever a pale imitation of Mistral anyway.
Too many people thought of it as too cool too many times.
9. Bleeding Cowboys
When I first discovered this font I thought it was just as fabulous as everyone else who first discovers it does. The problem is, a font is not a logo, and this one is being overused by “cool brands,” to the point that it’s actually damaging them because it’s becoming generic.
10. Bradley Hand
With all of the “hand drawn”-looking fonts available, I don’t understand why we seem to have settled on a few and overuse them to death. Sadly, Bradley Hand has become Generic Hand.
I am sure this was the coolest font EVER, in 1970 or 1920 when it was actually designed. But it isn’t cool and edgy now — it’s totally overused on too many signs everywhere.
This font may be cute for school posters and youth events, but no font is effective for branding when it’s overused as much as this one.
It may seem like I’m making a big deal out of something small, but for branding just as for everything else — the devil is in the details. Logos cost money because good designers don’t just rely on fonts to create an image that will speak to your brand and stick with your customer. No matter how cool the latest (or oldest) font may be, it’s totally un-cool for your brand to use tired imagery.
Featured image courtesy of Nir Tober licensed via Creative Commons.