Whether you’re coming up with a new logo, business card, brochure or website, fonts can say a lot about you and your business. Typography helps create an experience for your audience before they have even read a word; it tells a story about you and your business.

Recently, we've seen two large companies, Yahoo and Google, change their logos. But, unless you've studied the design of these two logos, it’s hard to tell the difference. With a little twist and turn to the font, you’ll have an entirely new design — presto!

Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer said, “We knew we wanted a logo that reflected Yahoo — whimsical, yet sophisticated. Modern and fresh … Having a human touch, personal. Proud.”

Yahoo’s logo no longer uses a serif font, each letter is thinner and taller, and they added depth to each letter, instead of the “flat” design that they had been using in previous years. However, Google did the opposite. The tech company flattened the shadows of the lettering in its logo and changed the color just a hint for a more modern look.

Thinking about redesigning your logo? Follow these tips from the font world, and you’ll be on the right track to having your logo truly speak to people.

  1. Rule of threes: Remember not to use more than three fonts in one design. If you do, you’ll create a chaotic, confusing design that will make the eyes of your audience roam around and not receive the message you’re trying to deliver. Pick one font family (serifs, scripts, etc.) and play within that. You can say a lot with one font by changing its style.
  2. Fit the font to your audience: Make sure that your font matches the tone and audience of whatever you’re creating. If you’re a fun business, use an electric, whimsical font. If you’re a serious business like a medical practice, you’ll want something traditional and clean.
  3. Readability: When choosing the right font, make sure not to use hard-to-read fonts. If you pick a script font, use it sparingly. If you can’t read it, your audience can’t either.
  4. Contrasting fonts: Along with tip No. 1, choosing two different fonts can be good. Using different fonts will break your logo into segments, so you can better direct a reader’s eyes. Using a larger text can show the reader where to start and will allow you to create a hierarchy within the design.
  5. Emphasis: Avoid using emphasis in your text. You can create the same look without using bold, italic or underlines. If your text is filled with all of these styles, you’re going to lose your reader. To show emphasis on your text, try using a different color; or play with tones and change the saturation to a lighter or darker version of the text color, so that it’s in the same color family, but still has an impact.
  6. Consistency: This is important in building your brand/style and portraying your strong, professional-appearing message. If you have a specific font for your logo, headlines, website, etc., make sure that it’s the same in every piece of promotional material. If you have different employees working on various documents, create a style guide so everything is uniform for your business.

When it comes down to it, the important thing is to keep your design simple. However, simple doesn't mean you have to be boring. Keep your message intact, regardless of your font selection, so that it doesn't get lost within your design. You want to keep your audience intrigued with your design, so they remember you and keep coming back. First impressions are lasting impressions.