Typography is the art of selecting and arranging letters to make written language legible, readable and appealing. Typography brings texts to life by combining different font styles, adding spaces and arranging it to make the copy look visually pleasing. By understanding font psychology, you can successfully build your brand by establishing a perfect set of typography for your brand.
Much like colors, shapes and other elements, typography is one of the most important visual elements when establishing a brand. We use typography in most of our assets including logos, social media posts, websites and other marketing tools – it is one of the most effective visual elements to evoke a spectrum of emotions in the target audience.
Not only can an excellent set of typography help build brand recognition by further enhancing your brand’s personality, it is also a major factor to keep target audiences interested and maintain the feeling of relatability. It’s important to hold the attention of your target audience – and having an in-depth understanding on font psychology can immensely help your brand succeed.
From its width, weight and styles, each nuance of fonts can evoke different feelings in the target audience. Selecting the perfect fonts for your brand is not an easy fit, it can take months of trial and error before finding what fits your brand the best. By understanding font psychology, we can then properly select suitable fonts that fit the brand and convey the right feelings to the target audience.
The psychology behind major font styles
There are millions of fonts to choose from, let’s dive into the psychological effect each font category has on the target audience.
Serif fonts are a classic typeface used in books and physical media, and other formal institutes. It is an excellent fit for industries such as financial companies, law firms, academics, and insurance. Examples of serif fonts include Times New Roman, Georgia, Playfair Display, and Garamond.
It exudes the feeling of being
Slab Serif Fonts
The sub-set of serif fonts – slab serif fonts may look like serif fonts, however they have a more exaggerated slab section in them, making them look chunkier and bolder compared to serif fonts. We typically see slab serif fonts in industries such as automotive and electronics. Examples of slab serif fonts include Rockwell, Sanchez Slab, and Courier.
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Sans Serif Fonts
Sans serif fonts lack the serifs, hence it has a clean and modern design. Sans serif fonts have no decorative elements that distract the eye, they are both minimal and engaging to the users.
Sans serif is used in industries such as software, technology, marketing, fashion and start-ups. Examples of sans serif fonts are Monsterrat, Arial, Calibri, and Helvetica. It associates with the following emotional responses:
Script fonts are possibly one of the fanciest and most detailed font categories. Because of its similarity to handwriting and calligraphy art, the uniqueness of script fonts are perfect to inspire emotional and creative ideas. While they are less suitable for body text compared to other font types, script fonts are excellent for displaying message and logo design.
Script fonts best fit industries such as food and beverage, fashion and children brands. Examples of script fonts include Lucida Script, Lobster, and Zapfino. It can express the following emotional cues:
Decorative or Display Fonts
Decorative or display fonts are unique and creative fonts created by mixing and matching other typefaces. We typically use them in logo, signage and poster design.
Decorative or display font styles are best suited for companies who are fun, flexible and creative such as children brands, food and beverages, and entertainment. Examples of decorative or display fonts include Graffiti, Gigi, Imprint MT Shadow, and Jokerman. Here are some emotional responses that decorative or display fonts can relate to:
The psychology behind font styles
To establish an effective and suitable typography for your brand, it’s important to also understand how font styles such as weight, width, angles and more can have a psychological effect on how consumers perceive your brand.
Font weight: Heavy vs Light fonts
- Fonts that have a lighter weight are perceived to be more elegant, delicate and gentle. It’s important to take note that lighter texts might appear unimportant.
- Bold and strong fonts are seen as confident, strong, powerful and masculine. We can typically see heavy fonts used for headings.
- Medium weight fonts are generally used in body text as it has the optimal readability.
Font angles: Rounded vs Angular fonts
- Round fonts are commonly used to emanate feelings of comfort, soft, and approachable. As the rounded edge gives off a relaxing feel, it might not be as impactful as compared to a sharper edged font.
- A more angular font has a sharper edge, it radiates novelty and seriousness. With its formal and serious tone, angular fonts are best suited to highlight important subjects.
Capitalization: Uppercase vs Lowercase
- Lowercase letters are often used to promote compassion and altruism.
- Uppercase letters are effective when trying to express power and strength.
- Mixed case letters have the best readability as it’s embedded in our brain.
Font width: Narrow vs Wide fonts
- Condensed and narrow fonts have a psychological effect of tightness and precision.
- Wide and broad fonts convey the feelings of relaxation and looking at the bigger picture.
Choosing the right fonts for your brand
To successfully build your brand, selecting the right font plays a crucial part. As we use fonts to deliver messages in most of our communication materials, it’s important to select fonts that strongly reflect the brand and are easy to read. Here are some tips on choosing the right fonts for your brand:
- Consider the emotions and attributes you want your target audience to feel when looking at your products and marketing materials. A study has shown that font appropriateness can directly affect consumers’ decision when purchasing a product.
- Combining font styles to emphasize distinctive messages can help with your brand’s visual hierarchy. For example, it can highlight your logo and deliver your company’s slogan elegantly, it can provide a visual hierarchy for your website and newsletter, making it easier for readers to digest the content. We should be careful when combining fonts as too many varieties of fonts might appear confusing and cluttered for consumers.
- Maintaining a uniform style across all fonts can contribute towards higher conversion rates as it provides a more trustworthy image.
- Consistency is key to building a successful brand – same goes for fonts. Once we have selected the appropriate font, we should consistently use it across all platforms to further imprint the brand on the target audience’s mind.
- Select a body font that is widely available for web design and mobile applications. To ensure fonts are displayed correctly, it’s important to use a system and web-safe fonts such as Arial, Calibri, Roboto, and more. These fonts are typically available on widely used font libraries such as Adobe and Google.
Fonts are elements that can evoke specific emotions in consumers, grab consumer’s attention, deliver messages and influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. Choosing the right fonts for your brand is crucial when building a successful brand, it can completely change how your brand is perceived by consumers.