Copywriting and typography

Typography is – or at least should be – as much of a craft as copywriting.  The written word can ‘sound’ different with different fonts.

I’ve just come out of a further briefing for a client’s new website, during which he showed me a headline I’d written for their home page, set in about 10 different fonts and asked me which felt right to me. The best one reinforced the meaning of the copy; the worst actually worked against the meaning of the line.

Having been around the copywriting block a fair few times I’ve seen this in many projects in the past, but this morning’s example was quite distinct.

Typography makes a powerful difference to how copy reads. Serif or not. Size. Colour. Reversed out or not. Each typographical choice ‘colours’ the words and helps create the copy tone. Friendly / cool / down to earth / elite / loud/ quiet / gentle / bold . . . (a very undefinitive list).

It’s the body language to go with the verbal language.

The typography for Ardbeg is beautiful and just right for the brand (niche premium single malt whisky, distilled in a windswept spot on the isle of Islay). It feels traditional, considered, authentic, inviting, and carries the many quirky messages brilliantly well.

Here’s another example. It was for a financial service from the Edinburgh Solicitors’ Property Centre (ESPC), aimed at helping first time home-buyers who feel intimidated by financial jargon. The designer (at One O’Clock Gun) decided to have the headlines and subheads illustrated, rather than use any ready font. It reinforced the meaning of the copy and so the whole leaflet (plus POS and banner ads) communicated much more successfully. All in all, it feels as friendly and accessible as the service is – bringing the product to life.














By Liz Holt