Listen Up, Brand Builders: It’s Time to Level Up with Bespoke Typefaces
As a brand strategist who has helped launch over two dozen companies, I’ve experimented with pretty much every trick in the branding playbook. I’ve shot moody Instagram photos tilted at artsy angles. I’ve brainstormed brand values more vague than a horoscope. I’ve even subjected my long-suffering friends to no less than 47 slightly different logo mockups to find “just the right one.”
But recently, I’ve become a new convert to perhaps the most powerful branding tool I wish I’d tried years ago—using custom-designed, from-scratch typefaces to set my clients apart.
I’ll admit, at first I didn’t quite get the hype around custom fonts. Whenever a branding agency pitched them in the past, all I pictured were Helvetica wannabes with kitschy curls that probably took three minutes max in a free font generator. “Hard pass,” I thought.
That is, until one campaign when my trusted designer Becca brought me a mood board with a Pinterest-worthy script font she described as “modern vintage.” (Already sounding promising!) When she revealed it was a fully custom design based on my client’s handwriting, I did a double take. This was no DIY download—it oozed the lovely imperfections and flair that could only come from a pro job.
When I saw that script stamped on my client’s shiny new packaging, elevated above competitors on retail shelves, something clicked for me. The soul and personality a custom font can reveal instantly tells your brand’s one-of-a-kind story. I realized how even the most basic sans serif can be transformed with subtle quirks and details encoded within each glyph.
Ever since my bespoke font awakening, custom typography has become an integral first step of every branding project on my plate. And I’ve picked up some hard-won tips about how to employ them successfully along the way. Here are a few I wish I knew when I first gave fonts their proper due:
First, don’t relegate your font to headers and logos alone. Let it shine throughout your brand touchpoints—from website copy to social captions—to amplify recognition. One clever clients used theirs in subtle background textures, while another turned out sleek signage complete with dimensional type.
Next, take time to perfect even the littlest custom details, like tails, ball terminals and inline periods. These micro-decisions separate the amateur aesthetic from the truly bespoke. Heed warnings I wish I had about overly thin lines and improper kerning!
But most importantly, think long-term in choosing stylistic details that stand the test of time. Trendy fonts fade faster than skinny jeans—but a timeless script with staying power can build brand affinity for generations (and leave competitors looking outdated, not gonna lie!)
In the end, all the effort of building a font from scratch returns tenfold in shaping visual memory and ownership of your brand story. These humble little letterforms quite literally manifest your mission and values into something visible, concrete and real. How cool is that?
So don’t miss out like I nearly did – step up your branding game and put custom typography to work today! Whether you collaborate with a trusted pro or just play around with font creation tools on your own, I promise the personalized power of type will only grow as you continue to shape the narrative. Years from now, you’ll look back at early brand touchpoints before your awakening and wonder—did it ever truly feel like YOU without that font? Once it clicks, you never go back. Let me know when you take the custom plunge…I promise it’s worth it!