By Julie Strawson, Director of Marketing Europe, Monotype Imaging
Take a look around you: at the logos, brands and advertisements we see every day. Despite there being hundreds of thousands of differing styles and designs, there is one thing constant in most instances – they rely on a typeface in some form or another.
Typefaces establish hierarchy and evoke emotion; they make products more memorable, entice audiences, command attention and engage the reader. Without these typefaces, consumers would not be able to identify the products they associate with quality, and businesses would not be able to differentiate themselves from their respective rivals.
In short, the use of typography has become essential for brand awareness on both sides of the fence. Take British Airways. Its typeface has worldwide recognition – even when translated into many languages – and consumer loyalty to this brand is intrinsic. Corporate typefaces need their own identity in order for them to nurture trust and communicate effectively with customers.
Corporate communication has evolved to include channels such as the Internet and email, and businesses have had to adapt to ensure their branded content is just as recognisable on these platforms as on a printed poster in the street.
The advent of PDAs, BlackBerry devices and 3G mobile phones is enabling handheld devices to access all forms of information; therefore, the mobile platform is becoming a key part of the marketing mix.
However, organisations in general haven’t yet thought about how the power of typefaces can be exploited on mobile devices. In particular, the potential mobile typography has for improving the effectiveness of marketing campaigns by genuinely representing the brand could be significant.
The good news is that advances in the technology that enables the display of scalable typefaces on mobile devices are occurring now. Handset manufacturers, network operators and mobile platforms such as Symbian OS are increasingly integrating scalable type technology into their products, while standards bodies are working to define international specifications that will foster interoperability on different devices.
Since mobile devices vary in terms of screen size, resolution and memory space, these standards are imperative for bringing forward support for scalable type to ensure mass-market availability. Once these standards become adopted, type has practically limitless uses in the mobile world.
Any number of applications, from games and user interfaces to messaging and browsing, can be enhanced with scalable type – making them highly legible and easier to use while enabling a distinct, engaging visual style to suit their brand or the theme or mood they evoke, setting them apart from the competition.
By applying these principles to their marketing activity, organisations can differentiate their messages from the crowd and make prospects far more likely to respond. With these potential benefits on offer, companies need to keep up to speed on technology and standards development and be ready to take advantage as soon as possible.
Whereas the mobile phone was once just a means for speaking to a person, consumers increasingly expect PC-like experiences when using their devices, and scalable type is just the next step.
Organisations of all sizes are able to gain a competitive edge by understanding this while recognising the opportunity to enhance the user experience and convey their brand across the platform.
However, for organisations to succeed, they need to address typography issues from the outset to communicate effectively and consistently. Consumers will then be able to identify with the organisation communicating with them, which is more likely to produce a great response.
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