Why are brands less effective online?


Russ Welch

Lead Creative

Posted on June 20, 2016

Whenever I’m looking through corporate websites – which I occasionally do for research purposes – I’m often surprised by the missed opportunity to utilise all elements of a company’s brand in an effective way.

The logo itself usually makes it, as do the colour palette and, to a lesser extent, the imagery – but the real loser always seems to be type and typography.

Which is odd considering that the majority of a company’s communication with its clients will almost certainly take the form of the written word and a typeface will have been carefully selected to deliver these messages with an appropriate tone-of-voice and character.

As typography guru Erik Spiekermann has noted: more importantly than a logo, if you have a typeface and a colour then you have a brand.

Some companies – like Chanel, Coca Cola, the Design Museum and Channel 4 – recognise the importance of type to the extent where they have gone to the lengths of commissioning the design of custom typefaces for their sole use.

Interestingly, the Swedish government has also taken this approach, commissioning its own custom typeface and effectively branding the country.


Above, a sample of Sweden Sans: A custom designed typeface used to unify the tone-of-voice across all visual communications from Swedish government ministries, agencies and corporations.

Typography is clearly an important and powerful tool so why does it so frequently get overlooked in the transition to digital channels?

The answer may be at least partly technological. In the early days of web design, the necessity of using a Microsoft system font meant that the majority of websites used Arial or Times.

These days however, there is a myriad of options and, whilst it is not without its complications, there really is no excuse not to have the same visual standards across all channels, print or digital.

And yet so many corporate websites still fall short of utilising their brand, communicating with the same tone-of-voice as everyone else or, even worse, very little tone-of-voice at all.

Of the top 1 million websites, over 60% still use Arial. Open Sans, one of the most popular Google web fonts, features on over 20%.

You can check how many of the top 1 million websites use your web typeface here: www.fontreach.com

One certain thing is that if you’re not applying all aspects of your visual identity across all of your communications, then your brand is not working as effectively as it could.

Talisman is set up as an ‘integrated financial marketing agency’ which means that we have expertise covering all marketing channels.

Take a look at our recently launched brand for loan servicing company Solutus and see how typography (Aktiv Grotesk, if you’re interested) played a large part in repositioning them as a modern, fast, adaptable and dependable company.

You will also see how we utilised these brand elements across all of their marketing channels, print AND digitial.

1 logo and proof