The Power & Impact of Fonts
We live in an increasingly design-driven world, with new colors, textures and typography developed by the most talented creatives in the design industry. One area of design that is often overlooked is fonts — how text characters are displayed with varying detail, widths and heights. While fonts are assumed to be an arbitrary part of design, there is actually a significant amount of thought that goes into selecting fonts for specific purposes. The power and impact of fonts is surprising to most, until they understand the psychology behind them.
The Psychology of Fonts
Designers use the power of fonts to evoke certain moods and shape an individual’s response to a brand, logo or campaign. Fonts can incite a psychological reaction that can make a brand feel trustworthy, inspiring, chic or humorous. Depending on the needs of the consumer and what fits with their own personality, they unknowingly gravitate towards brands using fonts that speak to them personally.
Humans engage subconsciously with visual content more than written content — a phenomenon that psychologists call Picture Superiority Effect. Because of this, the appearance of text becomes critical in branding and advertising in order for it to be remembered by consumers. Fonts have been elevated to become just as important as graphic elements for this reason. This is why recent years have seen a significant rise in typography, the artistic process of applying font to a design. Typography is the arrangement of letters in a visually interesting way, with different letters of varying weight and positioned in a way that carries the readers’ eyes through the entire message.
The Unexpected Use of Fonts
We see fonts in our everyday lives and barely notice their existence, yet they’re having a subconscious impact on our choices. Following are some places where fonts are strategically used, which you’ll notice more now that they’ve been brought to your attention.
- Wall Décor – Whether you love wooden farmhouse-style wall phrases like “gather,” gravitate towards vintage posters, or find yourself choosing sleek and modern wall hangings, each of those décor preferences come with their own traditional fonts. Farmhouse-style décor tends to utilize sweeping, thick script fonts, the vintage look features sans serif fonts with a weathered/dated look, and modern wall décor commonly uses thin fonts with trendy accents. Trying to mix and match doesn’t resonate with those who appreciate a certain style. For example, a thin, modern font printed on a piece of reclaimed farmhouse-style wood won’t win-over anyone who appreciates either style.
- Apparel – Custom, personalized apparel is a hot trend right now, and one that looks to be staying around for the foreseeable future. With companies like NamePress emerging to provide everyone with the ability to create personalized clothing with its easy-to-use online interface, we’re seeing people get creative with everything from graphics to fonts. While some people might want a fun, young font to create t-shirts for their child’s birthday party, others are looking for mature fonts to commemorate their parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. NamePress understands the power of fonts, with editing tools that break down font categories into Standard, Blackletters, Cursive, Elegant, Futuristic, Hand Drawn, Kids and more. Once the primary category is selected, countless font options are offered that support the look and feel the consumer is trying to achieve.
- Book Covers – If you’re a fan of mysteries, thrillers, romance novels, or classic novels, you’ll notice that even book covers leverage the power of fonts to convey the type of story. Thrillers use large, bold fonts on their covers that jump out at you much like the storyline will, while romance novels use classy, thin fonts that make the reader feel emotional and peaceful. It’s most often the cover of a book that draws the reader’s attention, as the fonts and image immediately resonate with their preferred genre.
- Chalkboard Menus – Whether you’re at your local coffee shop, microbrewery, or sidewalk café, chalkboard menus are a fairly new trend to draw attention and convey the vibe of the establishment. Talented restaurant staff is putting their creative touches on these easily-changeable menus, with coffee shops often using fun bubble letters with color and microbreweries using more masculine, sharp typography.
It’s safe to say that regardless of where you are at any particular moment – whether at your desk reading a marketing sales email, driving past a billboard, or sitting at a park noticing people in personalized clothing — fonts are everywhere and they each have a vibe all their own. The next time you sit down to creative activity, keep the power and impact of fonts at the forefront of your design choices.