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Conversion strategies for your e-commerce website

3. The right fonts for YOUR website

Why your brand vlaues & personality matter before you choose any Google fonts

by Reese Spykerman

This is part of a 10-part series on Google Fonts and how you can use them to make a beautiful website. Visit the series overview here.

We’re going to take a break from looking at fonts for a moment to focus on you and your business.

 

It kind of makes you roll your eyes.

Or tune out.

Seems like the words “brand” and “branding” are tossed around everywhere, and half the time it’s like they’re just buzzwords.

Let’s simplify it all a bit.

If you have a business, big or small, you have a brand.

If you have a personal website, you have a personal brand (you!)

The 1-million-dollar question is whether your brand is accidental, or intentional.

It’s time to get intentional and clear about your brand.

We’re going to talk about brand values and brand personality.

You might think, “what does this have to do with fonts, I want to get back to the style stuff.”

Here’s why:

When you know your brand values and brand personality, you can easily choose fonts that align with them.


When your fonts align with your brand, people trust you more.

Alignment and consistency create trust.

When you create trust, website visitors are more likely to buy from you, or subscribe, or send an inquiry.

Here are the three questions you need to ask before you begin choosing fonts for your site and graphics:

1. What are your brand values?

Think of two different brands. Harley Davidson and Martha Stewart.

Each have dramatically different markets...and brand values.

Here’s how I see Harley’s values:

  • freedom
  • adventure
  • individuality

And Martha Stewart’s could be:

  • beauty
  • creativity
  • connection

You probably stand for some things. Maybe justice. Kindness. Integrity.

Your friend Jane stands for other things. Novelty. Liberty. Freedom.

Your brand values are what your business (brand) stands for. They’re like core beliefs—fundamental values your brand aligns with. They may combine the mission or aim of your business with the values of your market. (the people you serve/sell to).

Here’s a list of 50 core values. Try to keep yours to five or fewer: it will make it easier—later—to select your fonts for any design or marketing design you make for your business:

2. What is your brand’s personality?

Think of your brand as a person.

Values are its core foundation, its raison d^erte.

Your brand personality is its traits and characteristics if it were a person. Traits like “dreamer” or “imaginative.” Or “pragmatic” and “trustworthy.”

If your brand were at a party, how would it behave?

Would it be doing keg stands in in the center of the room?

Or would it be the one in the corner, talking quietly and intensely with one other person?

Would it even be at the party?

Let’s go back to our examples of Harley and Martha Stewart.

I see Harley Davidson’s brand personality as: rugged, tough, assertive, and very independent. Harley Davidson might not even show up to a party because it doesn’t want to be like other people.

And Martha Stewart is the perennial hostess: she’s going to host the party, right? The brand personality will be competent, creative, gracious and pragmatic.

So what is your brand’s personality?

List 4-7 traits that define it.

3. What emotions do you want to trigger in your audience?

When someone visits your website, how do you want them to feel?

My friend Wendy is a reflexologist. She wants her website visitors to feel grounded, relaxed and hopeful. She wants them to trust her competency and that she looks out for their health.

Because of this, I recommended Wendy use the sans-serif font Roboto for her body text (because it’s neutral, clean and straightforward, which helps with trust and feeling grounded) and the serif Lora for her headlines (because it’s elegant and friendly at the same time).

My friend Wendy is a reflexologist. She wants her website visitors to feel grounded, relaxed and hopeful. She wants them to trust her competency and that she looks out for their health.

Because of this, I recommended Wendy use the sans-serif font Roboto for her body text (because it’s neutral, clean and straightforward, which helps with trust and feeling grounded) and the serif Lora for her headlines (because it’s elegant and friendly at the same time).

image of Lora font with Roboto Font

Let’s use the same examples again.

On its website and in its designs, Harley Davidson might want people to feel excited. It might want them to feel strong and in control, even assertive.

harley davidson website

Martha Stewart might want her customers and website visitors to feel inspired, cheerful and confident. She might want to choose a font that says “I know you’re both stylish and sensible.”

So how do you want people to feel?

Write down your brand values, your brand personality, and how you want people to feel.

Putting it all together

Some patterns should emerge. A picture of your brand’s character and traits.

Among those lists, what stands out? Is there an overriding theme?

Here’s how one list might look:

1. BRAND VALUES

  • Wisdom
  • Self-Respect
  • Fairness
  • Honesty
  • Trustworthyness

2. BRAND PERSONALITY

  • Intelligent
  • Reliable
  • Inspiring
  • Daring
  • Down to Earth

3. HOW YOU WANT PEOPLE TO FEEL

  • Inspired
  • Motivated
  • Empowered
  • Grounded
  • Changed

What’s the theme in the above? I see trust and inspiration being the overarching traits of the brand. I‘d be looking for one font (probably for the body copy) that is trustworthy, neutral and straightforward, and I’d be combining that (don’t worry: you’ve got a lesson on mixing fonts (link) coming up) with a headline font that has more character.

Your next steps:

  1. Answer all three questions for your brand.If you want it as a printed list to save (highly recommended! it will help you not just with Google fonts, but with all your future marketing), head to the Google font resources page. Then, define the overarching qualities that emerge from your lists.
  2. Set the list aside, and read the next lessons. Refer to your list when it comes to choose a font for your body copy and for your headlines.

The next lesson is about how to style and handle your body copy so people stay glued to your website.

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