Typefaces and Fonts for Startups

How do you navigate using fonts and typefaces in your startup?

April 16, 2020

Let's set a boundary here: the design elements of your startup can change and evolve as your company grows. As such, the earlier your startup, the simpler the solution. As you grow and scale, things can get more dynamic. This article is dedicated to new startups that are experimenting on their own and have found choosing fonts to be a hurdle.

I'd imagine the scenario that led you to this article is something along these lines: you're putting together pitch decks, business cards, websites, etc. and you feel like you have to pick a new font every time. It's draining and you're not even sure if you're picking a good one for your brand.

The solution? Pick one, generic, easy-to-read typeface and use it everywhere.

Yep. Skip over mulling through MyFonts or TypeKit and use something that has been around for a while as a starting point.

Some recommendations:

Helvetica

Avenir

Futura

Montserrat (this one is free)

"But Zach, I want something unique and pertinent to my brand."

Yes, you do, but you're not ready yet if you can't afford to hire an in-house designer or outside consultant to even define your brand. Your goal right now is to appear trustworthy and dependable to investors and customers. Trying to choose unique typefaces will end poorly and hinder you from getting you to a point where you can pay someone to take this off your plate.

Pick a typeface from any of the above, use a bold, regular, and light versions, and play with hierarchy and scale to create compositions.

More you say?

FFF 2021

Returning with ambitions for 2021.

1.4.2020

Things are going to change for this series.

For the longest time, I've been writing about branding, but it's hard to distill such a big concept into something tangible and practical. In light of this, I'm going to channel my thoughts on branding and design through a specific market: software and digital products.

Why? Because they fascinate me and there are so many amazing examples of software companies that have leveraged design with authentic precision (Dashlane, Uber, Mailchimp, Notion, etc.). It is also evident that we are entering a new era where creating software is becoming less exclusive, but good branding and design services aren't poised to service company's smaller than $1M MRR.

This is going to become a place where SaaS Founders and Digital Pioneers can come for inspiration and guidance on design. More importantly, where they can learn how to leverage it as a tool to delight their users and build a badass brand.

Here's to a fearless, focused, and forthright 2021. 🤘 😎

read more

The Sorcerer and the Nerd

Subtle changes cause a big shift in branding.

5.19.2020

When J.K. Rowling submitted the first Harry Potter book, it didn't have the same title as we've known. It was first called Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and later adapted to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Why? These two things are synonymous.

Attitude. When you hear the term "philosopher," it sounds geeky and pompous. A sorcerer on the other hand, bolsters the idea of mystery, power, and elusiveness.

What's the point? Branding is full of nuance, while these two terms on paper mean the same thing, their emotional qualities are different. In branding, it's not just what you say, how you look, and what you do, but the attitude you bring to the table.

read more