Unplug

Back soon. Here's why

August 3, 2020

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” — Anne Lamott

I'm taking August to pull back from my newsletters, MF Punches, and take some time to recharge.

But don't you worry, I'll be back 😎

More you say?

Typefaces and Fonts for Startups

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

4.16.2020

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.

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Branding at Different Startup Stages

Whether you like it or not, your brand exists at every stage of your startup from Idea to Exit. Here's how it can help you.

1.28.2020

Most startups think they have to wait until they have a lot of money to build a brand. Truth is, you don't have a choice. The brand is how people feel about your company and whether you have a lot of money or not, they will still have an emotional opinion of your startup. So, it's better to be aware of how branding helps startups at varying stages.

Branding at the Idea Stage of a Startup

Strategic Direction
Ensures your startup is unified toward one goal. In mind, in actions, and in voice.

Positioning
Ensures you aren’t pegged as a copycat and that you know how you're different from your competitors.

Defined Audience
Ensures you talk to somebodyinstead of trying to reach everybody.

Branding at the Seed Stage of a Startup

Legitimacy
Ensures your startup appears trustworthy to investors and customers. You can't get that from Fiverr.

Emotional Pull
Ensures you get emotional buy-in to your startup and get more investment. This means more 0's in those investor checks and greater connection with customers.

Branding at the Growth Stage of a Startup

Streamlined Marketing and Design
Ensures you don’t reinvent the wheel when creating content about your startup. You can then focus on expanding to new markets and creating great content.

Compounding ROI
Ensures those marketing efforts are trusted and get a higher return that grows with time. As opposed to relying on discounts and cutting margins to increase sales.

Strategic Expansion
Ensures you coherently and cohesively expand your team. Specifically, it ensures you hire people whose values align with the company and augment the brand rather than detract from it.

Branding at the Exit Stage of a Startup

Higher Price 
Ensures you can leverage brand equity to command a higher exit price. There is a reason Apple is worth trillions and Samsung is not (hint: it's the brand).

Easier Transition
Ensures their isn’t a massive overhaul of the company post-exit.

Legacy
Ensures you left your mark and made an impact beyond financial gain.

Branding exists at every stage of a startup's life. The question is, will it help you or hurt you?

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