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Did you know that an entire field of science researched fonts and how it affects people’s behavior and cognition? Yes; it’s called typography, and it’s more relevant than most people assume. It’s particularly important for marketing specialists and business owners. Let’s talk about the psychology of fonts.

Typography is one of the many reasons why business owners hire graphic designers: they understand how the appearance of a message affects the recipient. But even the designers from MasterBundles, who are considered to be masters of fonts, commit to long-term learning. Font psychology is deeper than it looks, and there’s always a new aspect to explore.   

In short, it’s not just about the message you’re trying to share. Fonts are a major aspect of its psychological effect. Now, let’s get into the details. We’ll try to understand how fonts work in a marketing message, and how you can use that knowledge to develop a successful business. 

What Is Typography And How Is It Connected To Psychology?

Beads text typography. What Is typography?
Beads Text Typography

Typography is the art and science of stylizing letters, numbers, punctuation, and all other symbols we use to share a written message. It refers to all features of printed material:

  • Typeface (font style)
  • Font size
  • Symbol thickness
  • Spacing between letters and symbols
  • Negative space
  • Background color, and more

What Does Psychology Have To Do With All OF This

As a field of science, psychology analyzes many things about the human mind and its response to outside stimuli. For example, this study explores how typography affects a child’s response to written material. Apparently, the way common text for children aged 7-9 is designed affects the reading speed and comprehension. Sentences that were printed in Arial font were read more quickly when presented in a larger typeface. Verdana is also a suitable font for children, as studies show they read it more quickly. 

People have an innate instinct to apply emotions to non-human things, including logos, letters, and anything else they see. They respond to visual stimuli in an emotional way. When web designers and business owners understand this response, they can manipulate the appearance of their marketing materials in a way that conveys the message in the best way possible. 

We’ll find proof of the importance of font psychology if we take a look at a few different websites. Experienced webmasters consider the purpose that fonts have on their sites. For example, Cambria and Calibri are safe choices that work for most sites. Times News Roman is a classic, newspaper-like font that looks well on analytical blogs. That’s why font bundles are categorized in sets that correspond to the psychological effect the webmaster wants to achieve.  

How Businesses Can Benefit From Font Psychology

Typography hasn’t been researched too much in an academic context. Still, a few experiments and studies show the impact of font psychology on advertisement evaluation. Those are valuable findings that all business people can benefit from. 

Let’s see what we can learn and apply in our marketing practices:

1. Readability Is Crucial

No matter who your target recipients are, dyslexic people are probably included. Let’s face it: all that text we see on our devices on a daily basis overwhelms non-dyslexic people, too. That’s why font readability is crucial!

There are fonts (such as OpenDyslexic) that are specifically designed for enhanced readability. However, they don’t necessarily perform better than traditional fonts. Roman, monospaced, and serif fonts are a great choice. Instead of fixating our eyes, they encourage them to easily jump between word sections. 

Readability is particularly important for large texts, such as blog posts or email newsletters. Consider using one of these fonts in those cases:

  • Computer Modern Unicode
  • Arial
  • Helvetica
  • Verdana
  • Courier

2. Size Matters

If you have an audience of second-graders, increasing the font size above 14 will improve the readability of your text. Targeting senior people will also drive you towards larger fonts. 

But bigger is not always better. Research shows that decreasing the font size below 14 made text more comprehensive for fifth-graders.  

Increasing the spacing between the letters will also improve the readability of your text. 

3. Stay Away From The Caps-Lock

Emoticon smile on a yellow background. Customer feedback.

Caps-lock gives out the impression of shouting. Even when you want to emphasize something, using only uppercase is not OK. It goes against the etiquette of sharing a written message. In addition, caps-lock interferes with reading comprehension. It strains more mental resources for the brain to process the content. 

Italic or underlined text is a much better choice than uppercase.  

4. Have A Friendly Approach With Sans Serif Fonts

Throughout the history of marketing, sans serif fonts have been popular for posters. Their cool appearance makes the message look less serious and traditional. These are the fonts you want to use for achieving a progressive, emotional vibe.

Sans serifs are simple and minimalist. That’s why social media sites and tech companies prefer them for their marketing messages. They convey a modern, progressive vibe. They also have a psychological association with being friendly and honest. 

The fonts you can try from this group include Open Sans, Modelica, and Arial.    

5. Convey A Powerful Message With Slab Serif Fonts

Fonts from the serif family are a standard choice for those who don’t want to take a risk. But a slight boost in thickness along the stem makes them more powerful. Slab serif fonts are bolder than the classics, so they evoke stability and power.

Car manufacturers and electronic companies often rely on these fonts. They help them convey a masculine vibe. You can try the Darius, Detroit, and Rockwell fonts if you aim toward power and stability in your marketing message.   

6. Appearance Is Crucial

If you’re working on creative content that requires recipients to consider an unusual point of view, you should make it look unusual. That doesn’t mean you should opt for unreadable fonts. Readability still matters, but the text should look pretty at the same time. 

For example, when trying to boost your product page conversion, your visitors are more likely to purchase the product if they think the content is fun and pretty. You don’t want them frowning and straining while reading. That’s why you might prefer narrow fonts; as they are perceived as positive and modern by most people. 

Keep in mind that perception is audience-dependent. An older audience will prefer sans-serif, as that’s the typeface they are used to. Younger people, on the other hand, prefer the appearance of sleek and elegant serif fonts. 

7. Lose The Serifs To Boost The Reading Speed

People might be spending too much time online nowadays. Yet; they don’t want to waste time on a single article. You want them to quickly go through your text. Reading speed is especially important for the first paragraph. It determines the reader’s decision to keep reading or bounce off without seeing what you have to say.

Geometric Font Brainstorm Ideas Concept.

If you want your audience to read as much as possible in a short time, using a sans-serif font is your best choice. 

Fonts Are More Important Than We Assume

Psychology is a complex science. But nobody said that business owners need a second degree to understand the psychological impact of their choice of fonts. When you’re focused on startup growing, you learn through the process.

Reading too much about fonts will only confuse you, so start with the basics and experiment! It’s important to figure out what psychological effect you want your marketing message to have. Then, choose a font that’s supposed to help you achieve it. This isn’t an exact science, though. You’ll have to consider different parameters and experiment with fonts and sizes until you find the perfect balance!

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About the Author

James McMinn

Senior Digital Strategist

James is a savvy digital marketing specialist with a Masters of Science in Internet Marketing. For the past fourteen years, he has been specializing in SEO, PPC & Marketing Strategy. He has a super sharp analytical mind and a finely tuned creative eye for marketing initiatives that optimize brands.

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