There was a time when the study of typography was a true science and art. Today, anyone can download fonts, make them bold, change the size of characters, and so on within seconds thanks to most software programs. With that comes a hodgepodge of type that doesn’t always accurately reflect a brand’s promise nor does it always work cohesively with the psychological reactions consumers have to it.
With that said, the psychology of type isn’t always given the level of importance it deserves in brand identity work, particularly in web design. Ask yourself, does the font used in your brand identity and your website accurately communicate your brand promise to consumers?
While the answer to that question might be easy enough for you to get, there is more to typography than emotional reactions and the psychological perceptions it conjures. Readability is also essential, and readable typefaces in one medium aren’t always readable in other media. Bottom-line, if your text isn’t easy to read, it doesn’t matter what medium you’re using, who your audience is, or what your message is — you won’t reach your goals.
Research has proven time and again that people can read a simple typeface faster than a highly stylized typeface. Furthermore, the right amount of space between lines of text (i.e., the leading) and the width of blocks of text all play a role in how likely people are to read that text and how easy it is for them to read it. However, research has also shown that a fancy typeface can effectively communicate a brand’s position to consumers. What’s a brand manager to do?
The trick is finding the right combination of typefaces that communicate the brand promise and message without being difficult to read or off-putting to consumers. Your primary brand typeface should be simple and easy to read. Save the fancy typefaces for secondary elements and accents. Research also tells us that using a fancy font sparingly can boost brand and message recall.
Next time you think of just picking out a font you or an executive likes, think twice before you move forward. The art, science, and psychology of type should be considered first.
What do you think? Leave a comment and share your thoughts about brands, psychology, and typefaces.
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