Corporate Eye

Fonts Really Do Matter

fontsResearch by Hyunjin Song and Norbert Schwarz (via Neuromarketing Blog) proves that the fonts used in ads, marketing materials, and documents really do affect consumer behavior.  The title of the research report says it all — If It’s Hard to Read, It’s Hard to Do: Processing Fluency Affects Effort Prediction and Motivation.

In multiple experiments, consumers were provided a set of written instructions related to the use of a product and asked to estimate how long it would take to perform those instructions.  The results were always the same.  Consumers who were provided instructions in simple fonts (such as Arial) estimated that the instructions they read would take half the time to complete than consumers who were provided the exact same instructions in a more creative font (such as Mistral) estimated.

Clearly, the takeaway from this study is obvious.  If you want consumers to perceive your brand, your message, and any instructions you need to deliver as quick and simple, you should present that information using a simple, easy-to-read font.  However, a similar takeaway could relate to overall brand perception.  Certainly, a light and fancy script font delivers a different brand message than a sans serif, bold font.  However, when you add on the effects that your font choice can have on the readability and response to your brand messages, font choice jumps up in the list of importance.

Furthermore, the font you use in your brand messages and so on can affect consumers’ motivation to respond the way you want them to.  The last thing you want is for the font you choose to deter people from the actions you suggest in your ads and marketing materials.  In other words, don’t let a font stand in the way of your brand and your business.

What do you think?  Is your brand easy or hard?  Does your font match?


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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.