The Psychology of Fonts: What your typeface says about you.

16th July 2015 by Lisa0

Have you ever thought that the font type you chose for your logo could say something about you and your business? Have you ever sat next to someone who has sneered at a Comic Sans logo? I would be surprised if you haven’t been in that situation, as this is just one font that seems to be able to curl the toes of most creative types.

Choosing a suitable font for your logo is an integral part of the design process.

When designing a logo, you’re attempting to communicate multiple complex messages in the simplest form possible. When you have only limited space to write just a few words or in most cases just a name, the typeface you use can portray your company’s name or catchy slogan can say a lot, not just about your company’s motives, but your characteristics as well.

Pick the right font and it will amplify the meaning of the words, pick the wrong one and you will be sending mixed messages, which could be nothing short of disaster.

So which font should you choose? My advice is to experiment, that way you’ll quickly be able to see which style is right for you.  For those who aren’t confident knowing their Sans Serif from their Serif, here’s my quick guide to the types of fonts on offer for your business and the psychology behind them:

Serif fonts – think Times New Roman or Baskerville. These fonts are characterised by a slight decorative projection added as an embellishment to a letter. Implying a sense of tradition, respectability and reliability, they’re like old friends, but be warned, a younger crowd might see them as too ‘old school’. A company that wants to emphasise its pedigree or heritage would do well to choose a Serif font.

Sans serif fonts –think Helvetica, Ariel or Franklin Gothic. Clean, simple and futuristic, Sans Serif typefaces are very popular, especially in educational applications. They’re easy to read making them ideal for the visually impaired. These work well for companies that want to send out a straightforward message and give the impression of reliability and honesty.

Modern fonts – these fonts include Futura, Avant Garde and Century Gothic. Strong and dependable but with a touch of sophistication, modern fonts suit forward looking brands and can be good for fashion lines, companies in niche markets, luxury brands and purveyors of the exclusive.

Script fonts – cursive and handwritten fonts can be beautiful but proceed with caution! Care needs to be taken over legibility when using a font like Zapfino or Scriptina. A logo font may be reduced in size for stationery or similar, and nobody is going to understand a message they can’t read or remember an illegible company name. However, these issues notwithstanding, a script can convey elegance, femininity or creativity. A font that looks genuinely handwritten can also give your design a sense of informality or spontaneity.

Novelty fonts – a novelty or display typeface is any typeface that’s a lbit different from the norm and generally one that you wouldn’t want to read a whole body of text in. These can work well for logos and singular words, however, staff and customers alike may quickly tire of something overly childish (unless, of course, it is for a brand that is aimed at children).

Custom fonts – can’t find what you really want in a typeface? Then you could always have a custom font designed. For companies like Coca-Cola, Disney and Pinterest customised fonts have become synonymous with their brand. It’s an expensive option but one that will give you everything you want; text that stands out, a recognisable and unique typeface, consistency and above all the freedom to do what you want.

So remember think carefully before you choose your font. What subliminal message will it put across to your customers? Experiment with different fonts and you’ll quickly be able to see which style is right or wrong for you.

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