Figuring out which are the best fonts for logos might not be the easiest of tasks. For instance, even the directory at DaFont.com alone lists a staggering 36,000+ total fonts. And that’s surely not all that’s available out there. You can probably find just as many fonts in other places, or even more.
So, how to make your way through all this abundance and find the best fonts for logos that are the most likely to work for your project? This is where the post we have for you today comes into play. We go through all the different traits that make a quality logo font, and list a number of recommendations to get you started.
And, okay, I know you might be skeptical about the idea as a whole. After all, a company’s logo is a very individual and original project, so looking for a generalization like “best fonts for logos overall” seems odd, but please bear with me, we’ll talk it over.
On another note, as much as it can be tough to call a selection of the best fonts for logos, calling the worst ones is pretty straightforward. Comic Sans much? Or maybe Impact? Papyrus? Please don’t use those typefaces. Ever!
How to start searching for the best fonts for logos?
Let’s begin with what you don’t do. And that is don’t get a font purely because you like the way it looks. This is a trap that’s easy to fall for. Instead, try thinking of it this way:
What you’re looking for is not a font for you but rather for your customers or clients. The font needs to resonate with them even more than it needs to resonate with you.
Even though I will give you some font examples along the way, it’s still a good idea to first focus on defining what that perfect font “feels like” for you.
Start by listing the primary values that your brand wants to embrace, the main characteristics of your niche, and also define your perfect client/customer persona.
This might sound like an unnecessary step for the more “action-centered” among you, but the goal here is mainly to have a couple of things written down – just so you can make a quick decision when looking at a particular font and wondering, “does that font fit my business?”
Some helper questions
- Do you want to send off a vibe of professionalism?
- Do you want to look modern?
- Calm and relaxed or energetic and lively?
- Feminine or masculine?
- Original and unique?
- Fitting in with the competition?
- Selling to businesses or individuals?
- How old is your customer?
- Men or women?
- What sort of values are they looking for when deciding who to work with?
- Do you want people to identify with your brand (e.g. Apple) or do you just want to give them what they want (e.g. Google)?
1. Decide on an emblem logo or wordmark
Some fonts fit better with an emblem-based logo (e.g. Harley Davidson), and some with a wordmark or text-based logo (e.g. Visa).
If you’re going for an emblem logo, your font probably needs to be more toned-down so that it doesn’t overpower the emblem.
Starbucks is a good example here. Even though the company has shifted away from having any text in their current logo, for 24 years (1987-2011) they used this:
The font is simple, a bit heavy, showcasing the company name and main product in all caps. Even though the text is relatively massive in comparison to the emblem, that two-legged mermaid is still the focal point.
Had there been a more flashy font, it would have overpowered the emblem and made it less visible. You can employ similar principles when looking for a font for your emblem logo.
Similar font choices:
When opting for a text-based logo or wordmark, your font should be more representative or distinct. In other words, this time the font itself is the focus, and that needs to show.
You’re essentially making your logo the brand identity in itself – so there’s no need for an emblem. Here’s an example from one company:
At this point, it’s also worth considering getting a completely custom logo design, which somewhat includes building a custom font.
For example, basically, any feature film ever came with its own title font. Actually, those were more like partial typefaces. I’m calling them partial since it’s hard to believe that the designers prepared entire fonts, rather than just working on the letters that would appear in the title. That being said, due to the popularity of those films, other designers stepped in later on to build entire typefaces.
So, the question to ask yourself with a text-based logo is whether you want to invest in designing the thing from scratch or use any of the more representative ready-made fonts.
If it’s the former, you can find some great designers to help you out at Fiverr.
For the latter, here are some examples of unique fonts that can be used for logos:
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2. Stay in tune with the niche
Every niche or market has its own set of rules, expectations and somewhat of a general vibe that’s noticeable.
You should essentially aim for the same vibe – to make the vibe of the font fit that of the business and niche.
For example, for a dentist office logo, it’s important to convey the feeling of safety, cleanliness, professionalism, friendliness. It just doesn’t make much sense to use this for your dentist office logo:
What I’m trying to say is that as attractive as the concept of standing out might feel, it’s not always the right choice for many niches.
We’d probably all want to “disrupt” whatever niche we’re in, but that’s rarely done through the logo itself.
Don’t be the outlier that needs to be different no matter what. Fit in, but improve.
Pro tip. If you’re going for an emblem logo, that emblem can be partly disconnected to avoid boredom. For example, I’m sure you’ve seen countless real estate logos featuring houses, buildings, skyscrapers, and whatnots. Use something different.
Take the logo of Domino’s Pizza, for example. See any pizza in it?
Here are some interesting choices among the best fonts for logos in different markets and niches:
Health and wellness:
Apps and tech:
Barbershop, but also whiskey:
Childcare, kindergarten, baby products:
3. Pick a font that’s unique enough
As we all know, one of the key qualities of a logo is that it’s original and unique. After all, you want people to identify your business by its logo.
For that to happen, you can’t pick a font that’s too popular. You simply don’t want to come across your font in the wild as it’s used for something you’d really not want to associate your business with.
On the one hand, popular fonts are popular for a reason – they’re quality creations that appeal to a lot of people. But popular fonts are a double-edged sword when searching for the best fonts for logos.
What you want to pick instead is something that’s “unique enough.” A quality font is always going to be popular to an extent, so you will probably stumble upon it somewhere eventually; you just don’t want the whole world to be using it.
Here are some examples of original fonts:
4. Pick a font that scales well
Not all fonts are built to look good in all sizes. Nor in different mediums. Some fonts basically look good only in their demo sheet, and nowhere else.
Take this one, for example:
It looks awesome when big enough. But scale it down, and it loses its magic.
Always test your font in multiple scenarios. Resize your logo to make sure it’s readable and interesting in all sizes.
Some examples of fonts that scale well:
5. Use a font that translates well to low contrast
Some fonts might be tough to read in low contrast scenarios.
The thing with company logos is that you don’t always control the situation in relation to how and where your logo is going to be used.
Maybe you’ll sponsor an event and your logo will be placed in a poster that you don’t have creative control over. Or maybe you’ll use your logo as a video watermark, with a lot of stuff moving in the background.
In any such situation, if the font you’ve chosen isn’t universal concerning low contrast scenarios, the logo might be difficult to distinguish.
Fonts with thinner letters or elaborate handwritten design might share these problems.
6. Pick a font that fits in with your other website fonts
Fonts are like beers. You’re rarely good with just one.
When building a website, in a classic scenario, you will need at least two more fonts apart from the logo font:
- your website headline font
- your website body font
All those need to fit in with each other.
7. Choose between serif or sans
Sans-serif or serif is the oldest font-related question of them all.
Here’s what serifs look like:
Generally speaking, serif fonts are more decorative, official, classic, better for the readability of long texts. Sans-serif is more modern-looking, easier to digest for a younger audience, arguably better-suited to on-screen text.
At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong answer here. Both typestyles can work well among the best fonts for logos, but that all depends on how they fit with your business and brand.
Some examples of interesting serif and sans-serif fonts:
8. Be careful with handwritten and script fonts
Handwritten fonts can be an awesome choice for the right business and logo, but they also carry some risks. Many of them we’ve already discussed above – wonky behavior in low contrast situations, or not clear enough when scaled down a lot.
At the same time, to play devil’s advocate, this type of fonts can be awesome at sending an emotion-rich message or creating a particular vibe.
Here are some examples of handwritten and script fonts that don’t suffer from the common downsides:
9. See what popular startups use
Whenever working on your own logo, it’s a good idea to do wider market research and examine what the other companies in the space are doing – how they manage to stand out, what they do vs not do, etc.
However, it’s also a good idea to go a bit wider – outside of your niche – and get inspired browsing through the font choices among popular startups.
Here’s a really interesting tool by MyFonts that analyzes fonts using a given photo.
10. Don’t expect to stay with a font indefinitely
Even the biggest brands out there change or refine their logos over time. You really shouldn’t expect to stay with that one font for years to come.
Take Apple, for example. This is their very first logo:
If you can’t see it there, it’s Sir Isaac Newton sitting under a tree with a shiny apple hanging over his head. How far is that from the current Apple logo?
Goals change, the market changes, customer expectations change, and so on. You will likely refine your logo at some point in two to three year’s time. So don’t overthink it today. Don’t try to be perfect on your first go.
If some font seems to fit your logo, your business, the niche, and it just feels right, don’t go searching for something better. Settle on what you have. You can improve later on. A company’s success is
rarely never based on the logo alone.
When doing these mental gymnastics looking for the best fonts for logos:
- Start with a list of 5-10 fonts that seem good-enough, and then make your way down to the top 3.
- Next, create your logo with each font individually and compare the results.
- Print them out in different sizes.
- Use the logos on your website.
- See the website on mobile.
- Make them huge.
- Make them little.
- Ask your coworkers to vote on the top one.
- After this is all done, you should have your shortlist of the best fonts for logos, and maybe your perfect no.1 font at hand.
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Do you have your perfect logo font yet? Which one is it? Feel free to share in the comments.
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