Is your font wrong for your website?
We learn our font associations from as early as six months old. Even before a child can read they will know what Peppa Pig or Disney products look like purely by colour and font. This association permeates our lives on every level.
So, what's in a font?
So, what’s in a font? It’s a question that Sarah Hyndman discusses in her latest book, Why Fonts Matter. Her research into fonts even goes as far as influencing how a product tastes, simply by how it’s presented in a typeface. Round and red will make food taste sweeter while a jagged font might draw our taste buds to sour or bitter tasting.
Choosing food from the supermarket shelves is a prime example of consumer psychology. We might choose olive oil, ice-cream, wine or yoghurt because the font suggests its Country of origin. It might be produced in this country; however, the font will somehow authenticate it on a subconscious level.
Interestingly, another of Sarah’s study indicates that fonts don’t just have a personality, they have a gender. Results show that women equate the font Bauhaus to a tall, dark and handsome man, while the feminine lines of Didot appealed to men as particularly feminine. Didot is used in the Vogue and Harpers Bizarre brand names, which further illustrates why the font appeared more feminine on a subconscious level.
Get elected with a font!
Barrack Obama used the power of the typeface to great effect in his election campaign. He avoided the traditional and steadfast font option and chose to use Modern Gotham. The typeface evokes feelings of nostalgia, but the omission of serifs makes it appear clean and timeless. Just the kind of emotional response that you would need if your campaign slogan were ‘change.’
Lastly, history and life experience also count when it comes to a font suggestion. One of Sarah’s studies illustrates this by asking people what kind of music they would associate Gothic typefaces with. The older people associated it with Heavy Metal bands such as Iron Maiden, Motorhead or Metallica, while the younger people said that the same typeface is indicative of Hip Hop.
So, before you send out your next flyer, design your website or introduce a new product, think about the hidden meanings that you might be conveying to your customers. Your choice of typeface might just be scaring off your target audience or inciting an emotional response that you might not want.
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