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Typography in Marketing: What Makes or Breaks an Ad

Typography in Marketing: What Makes or Breaks an Ad
June 19, 2017 Sarah

So what makes or breaks an ad? It may surprise you to know that it can be something as simple as the font that you choose. It can make your ad successful: or not.

Contrary to what many people might think, it isn’t just the Graphic Designer’s role to think carefully about what will ‘look good’ for selected graphics and/or images. They also need to take into consideration the values of the company, the purpose of the ad (or other designed object), legibility, the chosen audience and all the variations of audiences within that. It’s also important to take into account the historically attained symbology of the letterforms themselves. In other words, a font can make us feel something because we associate it with the places we have seen it before, in relation to other fonts, and other advertisements. This is why a trained graphic designer with an education in design history is worth every dollar.

Successfully chosen typography can affect a viewer’s perception and interpretation of the content they are presented with, and can steep a design with style and personality. Effective marketing demands a thorough and considered approach, which we will explore in the following case study of a remarketing ad we created for our client Adagold.

Adagold is Australia’s leading independent provider of air charter and aviation services. The below remarketing ad is for their sister brand which specialises in luxury charters and Jet-Centric experiences: Adagold Luxe.


Themes: Luxury, travel, jet-centric
Type used: A juxtaposition of neoclassical serif typeface ‘Playfair’ and geometric sans-serif typeface ‘Lato’
Justification: The neoclassical serif font is regal and elegant, but the contrast between the stroke weight of the letterforms paired with the sharp corners and hard angles suggests modern detail instead of seeming outdated. Geometric sans-serif fonts are inherently modern in the absence of variation in weight within individual letterforms, as well as the geometric shape of the letterforms – traits that could not be achieved earlier in the history of type. The juxtaposition of these two style of fonts create interest as well as hierarchy of information within the design.


So why ‘Playfair’ and not just any serif font?

Different styles of serif fonts have different historical connotations which steep them in the values and characteristics of the era in which they were developed.

Take ‘Garamond’ for example – also a serif font, however it was designed in an era where typographers did not have the tools to make sharp contrasts between the stroke weights of the letterforms. This Old Style serif gives off a more historical, dated look which does not suggest luxury, jet-centric travel.


Another example of an inappropriate serif – ‘Josefin Slab’ is what is known as a slab serif. Slab serifs have heavy serifs and no bracketing (meaning the joints where the limbs of the letterforms meet are sharp angles instead of curved joins). This style of font was developed for display advertising in the 19th century – to be bold, have impact and catch your eye. Again, this does not suggest luxury.


It is known universally that graphic designers hate ‘Comic Sans’ with a passion, but for the purposes of this blog, I will debase myself to prove a point. Comic sans is a sans-serif that was designed for a children’s Microsoft program in the 90s. It was intended not to be sophisticated or complicated, but fun, easy to read and suitable for the context it was designed for. It is for these reasons that ‘Comic Sans’ is an inappropriate typeface choice for selling a luxe brand.


Geometric sans-serifs are the epitome of modern, and have gained popularity over recent years for everything from logo to web design. ‘Futura’ could be said to be the pioneer font of this movement, and is modern, clean and elegant. However, while this font is most certainly modern and clean enough to be representative of jet-centric travel, it is not quite intricate enough to represent luxury.

Need help with your font selection? Want consistent branding across all your digital marketing channels? We can help! Get in touch with us today.

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