The fonts and colors used in your marketing play a large part in your overall brand image.
I was inspired to write this article after viewing direct mail circulars. I saw that three fast food restaurants were all offering similar deals. Each coupon has a very different feel to it. I found this to be a great example of how fonts and colors impact your advertising. These examples will show you how your brand may be interpreted.
First, let’s look at the McDonalds coupon. This design is very clean and stylish. The green text is a nice contrast to the colors in the photography. More importantly, the green compliments the yellow in the McDonald’s logo. Green represents growth and freshness. The offer requires the purchase of a salad (or value meal) which is featured as a fresh item to this visual image. Therefore this ad is clean, stylish and colorful. Most of all it has a sophistication that gets the point across in a bold yet not loud manner.
Now let’s look at the Arby’s coupon. Arby’s chose to make all of the text black, keeping the focus on the photography and the Arby’s logo. The font selection is casual, as opposed to the modern fonts used int the McDonald’s coupon. The “free” offer is large and much louder. This Arby’s coupon looks more traditional than the McDonald’s coupon, and there is a reason for that.
The visual brand image of McDonald’s is different from Arby’s. Arby’s has a slightly different target audience. They look to attract the adult meat eater and portray a casual western image. They offer a bold image. Their logo is one color. On the contrast, McDonald’s has rebranded their image. The new image is now more contemporary, which is reflected in their coupon shown here. They are looking to attract a younger and health-conscious generation, while Arby’s is focused on promoting the quality and variety of the meat they offer.
When you look at the dotted lines around the coupons, you will see this difference. The Arby’s dashed lines are bold and red, and very easy to see. But when you look at the dashed lines around the McDonald’s coupon, you see that it is thin and understated. Consequently this little detail makes a big difference in the overall look of your branding.
I later came across a similar coupon from Subway. Now here we have an entirely different look. With a large red font, their coupon screams the word “free”. Their photographic image is larger than in the other two coupons. These elements together make this coupon bold and attention getting. The font selection is casual with a flair of fun. The word “free” is in red which represents power, and excitement. And for the dashed lines around the coupon, they are properly stated. The thickness is not overpowering, nor understated. The color is a great selection because it is lighter than the color on the cup and in the corporate logo. This lighter color picks up the green for the lettuce and ties it all together with a fresh, fun feeling.
Like the McDonald’s coupon, Subway used a font color that contrasts with the prominent color in their photograph. Notice that the McDonald’s prominent color in the photo is red, and they chose green as the featured text color. The prominent color in the Subway photo is green therefore they used red text for contrast. These details are created intentionally. The target audience of Subway is also different from both McDonald’s and Arby’s, as they are offering a different product, however giving a comparable choice.
There is a marketing objective of pointing out these details. Like these three restaurants, you have the same need to design your brand image to take the market share. Make your brand image a priority. Take the market share. Get the customer to choose you over the other offers that are in their face alongside yours. Yes, some may call it a competition, some may prefer to call it a “choice”, but regardless of our views, the fact is, that choices are out there. Competition is out there. If you do not take your brand image seriously, or think you are doing “just fine” with your current image, the company that does care, is going to take your market share.
One final example sites an ad for Don’s Pizzeria. This ad appears to have been created by a knowledgeable production artist, however not a designer following a professional brand image. The difference you can see is in the ad for Kebun Pizza. This ad has a totally different look which is more professional. Also, it has style. So if you were looking for a nice place to go for dinner and enjoy a quality pizza, you would likely choose Kebun Pizza. The image for Kebun Pizza also looks like the price might be higher than at Don’s Pizzeria. It portrays the image of an artisan pizza restaurant that must have a relaxed warm atmosphere. While the Don’s Pizzeria ad gives the feeling that you would sit on hard benches with a self-serve pizza counter. The sophistication, or lack thereof, plays a large part in the message your ad is saying.
The image for Kebun Pizza also looks like the price might be higher than at Don’s Pizzeria. It portrays the image of an artisan pizza restaurant that must have a relaxed warm atmosphere. While the Don’s Pizzeria ad gives the feeling that you would sit on hard benches with a self-serve pizza counter. The sophistication, or lack thereof, plays a large part in the message your ad is saying.
In conclusion, when you think about your brand image, thank about how you look in the field in which we live. So, it is the images, colors and fonts, and the way they are all designed together that create your brand image.