Today more than ever scientists, psychologists, and designers are unlocking the secrets of the font. This new understanding is helping to unlock the power and influence that lies behind the very shape of our words. Companies have spent millions of dollars on countless studies done by marketing researchers, in attempt to find the perfect font for campaigns. The findings have created more questions than answers, and have gone to the very heart of the mystery of the human psyche and how we perceive the world around us. This is probably why some people spend way too much time looking for the perfect font.
So, to help here are some “scientific” tips to help you unlock the hidden power of fonts.
There is a ton of information available online on what emotions are evoked through fonts. The key is to find a font that meets up with the information you are trying to say. Studies have shown that using fonts that match the message creates a positive connection even if the emotional values of the front are negative. Just think of advertising for Halloween products, the lettering is scrawling, jagged, and distorted; however, people still purchase these items, why? It is because the font matches the message and cancels out any negative connection in the brain.
While stereotypes don’t really hold for humans, the same cannot be said for fonts. There is a very good reason why designers and businesses listen to general opinions about fonts. The reaction of the viewer is paramount for successful delivery of your message. For example, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s health material guide advises manufacturers to use Arial, Times New Roman, or Helvetica for labels and printed materials. This is due to their readability and familiarity, thus creating the stereotype of being reliable and trustworthy.
On the other hand, how you message is going to be viewed should have almost as much attention as the font itself. Specific fonts do better in different mediums; for example, due to the nature of pixelated graphics of video screens Sans-Serif fonts do better in studies than Serif styles. Also, notice how billboards tend to use bolder typefaces as opposed to thin narrow fonts due to readability at a distance.
In the end, the art of fonts has more going on than meets the eye. If done correctly, the right font can help create a much broader, more meaningful dialogue with the audience than what seems at first glance.