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I noticed that the Italian party Forza Nuova tends to use the same font through all their graffiti and handwritten propaganda in general (a few examples here).
This suggested me the idea that the same concept could be applied to a product or company: heavily using a font within a company's website and advertisements, in order to create a strong association between that particular font and a product.
What could be downsides to this idea?

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    Which question are you wanting answered: "Is it okay to use a font as a 'signature' for a product?" OR "What could be downsides to this idea?" – Code Maverick Feb 14 '14 at 20:22
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    This is a standard part of brand identity. No real downside. – DA01 Feb 15 '14 at 5:35
  • @DA01 The downside could be if the brand gets a negative image, and you need to change brand (font included). That process is costly and takes a lot of time. – Benny Skogberg Feb 15 '14 at 6:37
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    @BennySkogberg I don't know if consistent type changes the cost of rebranding. Rebranding costs money regardless of the thought put in to typography. – DA01 Feb 15 '14 at 6:57
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It's more than OK to use a "signature" font for a company, and in fact that's a critical piece of brand identity.

There was a poster in the break room at my previous employer that outlined the design guidelines for all visual materials we produced. That included everything from internal memos, press releases, to pages on our website. It included a previously-agreed upon color palette, graphical elements & styles, and a short-list of font faces, along with where they were they should be appropriately used.

For example, our "banner" materials were in a sans-serif font, while the long-form text was a different one with serifs, making more readable. These were NEVER to change for outside communications we produced (unless it was something like a PR re-broadcast, you can't expect to control that).

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The website Font in use have 3164 font identities in their collection where you can filter by Industry or by Font. It highlights the importance of picking the right font when you are building a brand as the identity of your organization.

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The font is also part of the design guideline organizations use to make and build and strengthen the identity. The article Advantages and Disadvantages of Rebranding discuss the logo (font and image) and also why companies want to set a new identity: to change a negative image.

Many companies rebrand out of the necessity to recreate their image, neutralize negative perception of the brand or even negative publicity that wasn’t their fault. The most famous example is rebranding of Phillip Morris to Altria which took place in 2003. The company at that time already owned an 84% stake in Kraft Foods and wished to give emphasis to that part of its business and to shade negative image of the tobacco company. In modern culture image is everything and if the brand image of the company is damaged, no one will buy its goods and services.

This illustrates the downside of an identity, and possibly also the cost of branding where font is a part. Selecting identity and font is crucial:

Any logo design consists of two key elements: the logo's text (company name) and the graphic or picture that accompanies it. The look of a company's name conveys meaning and is as significant as picture. Different fonts convey different meanings and emotions to the potential customer and using the right font is vital. However logo design images frequently become the key recognition component of any company's marketing promotions.

We also have the list of the worlds most valuable brands presented by Forbes. At the top of the list is Apple worth little more than 100 billion dollar. That's 100'000'000'000 USD. What would it cost to rebrand Apple due to a possible negative image?

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    I don't think that's a downside of an identity...rather that's the downside of bad brand image/bad brand management/etc. I don't think the worry about a company doing something so awful that it forces them to change their name is a valid downside to having a strong typography component to the identity system. – DA01 Feb 15 '14 at 7:00
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I think font is one of the most crucial elements of brand identity. All best companies have signature font that you can envision just by thinking of name i.e. coca cola, knoll, chanel etc... In fact most large companies will provide you with the style guides that includes their font, and palette colors to use if you are designing something for them.

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