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HomeBrandingChoose Your Fonts with Psychology in Thoughts - Kaye Putnam

Choose Your Fonts with Psychology in Thoughts – Kaye Putnam


Ahh, the psychology of fonts… 

If you happen to hang around right here as a result of you’re a model nerd like me 🤓, then this phrase in all probability will get you PRET-ty excited. 

Possibly you might have visions of serifs dancing in your head…

Possibly you don’t (Ummmm, what’s a serif?), however you’d like some assist figuring out fonts which can be a match to your model. 

Both manner, settle in for some geeky enjoyable, as a result of on this article I’m diving deep into the psychology of your typography. 

I’m outlining the three differing types 😉 of fonts (See what I did there? 🤣) – and supplying you with recommendations on the place and the way to use them. After studying, you’ll be capable to make extra educated and intentional font choices to your model. 

🎥 If you happen to choose a video lesson on the topic from yours really 😉 … click on to observe. If you wish to learn the article, keep on! (Pssst… I’ve heard the largest branding nerds do each!) 

People are wired to search for patterns. 

To know why sure fonts are inclined to immediate sure feelings, ideas, and responses, it’s necessary to look at how people understand stuff. Over time, our brains collect knowledge and set up it. By our experiences, our consumption of media, our formal and casual training… and extra… we’re continuously processing and organizing info. 

Quite a few psychological research – throughout many disciplines – have proven that our brains are wired to search for patterns. ⬅️

In a single seminal 2014 paper on Superior Sample Processing (SPP), Mark T. Mattson writes:

“The basic operate of brains… is to encode and combine info acquired from the atmosphere by sensory inputs, after which generate adaptive behavioral responses.”

In different phrases, we glance to make associations with what we’re seeing – and join it to what we’ve seen prior to now. (The flexibility to do that was essential to the survival of our Neanderthal ancestors. It helped them to determine what vegetation have been suitable for eating, the way to hunt efficiently, the way to predict climate, and extra…) 

So it’s now it’s a part of our DNA to search for patterns, and this tendency is highly effective. 

The advertising lesson right here? Associations are constructed over time in our minds – and you’ll faucet into a few of them to ship alerts to individuals about your model. 

Your clients and shoppers have been seeing fonts all their lives… on newspapers, on indicators, in books, on product packaging… actually in all places. Primarily based on the context during which they see them, they’ve some preconceived concepts about them. 

If you happen to select your fonts primarily based on the psychological narrative that’s already current, the way you need individuals to really feel, and what you need them to grasp about your model, your choices will set off the responses of your selecting.

Fairly highly effective, proper? (I do know you’ll use your new-found energy for good – not evil. 😉 ) 

So, let’s go into the three sorts of typography – and the associations they bring about. 

(Observe that, in every class, I’m giving a nod to a few of the model archetypes which can be usually well-aligned with every font kind. These are very free correlations. You aren’t obliged to make use of those which can be usually related along with your kind! The truth is, a few of the most attention-grabbing and compelling manufacturers are an suave mix of two archetypes – and incorporate intentional, but surprising, components!

If you’re excited by uncovering Y-O-U-R archetypes, you’ll be able to take my free Model Character Quiz!)

Psssst… You possibly can pin 📌 this text for reference!

Serif Fonts 

Serif fonts have small additional strokes (known as serifs!) on the finish of every fundamental vertical and horizontal stroke. 

In his e-book The Origin of the Serif, Edward Catich defined that serifs have been first utilized by stonemasons who have been carving letters into stone. Outlines have been painted as a information for his or her work. The stonemasons would then observe the painted marks, and the paint would flare into the ends of their letter strokes. 

(Sorry… I warned you we have been nerding out right here… 🤣)

You’ll discover serif fonts in most books. In addition they grace the covers of a few of our tradition’s most venerable newspapers and magazines (like Vogue and The New York Instances). You’ll additionally see them on indicators and logos for a lot of nice establishments (like banks, museums, and universities). 

Historically ;), manufacturers which can be well-established and timeless have used them. For that purpose, we will get just a few completely different associations from serif fonts. They really feel very traditional, fashionable, dependable, conventional and generally even formal. 

Extensively-available serif fonts embrace Instances New Roman, Georgia, Palatino, Garamond, and Abril Show.

Listed here are a few of the associations individuals are prone to make in case you’re utilizing a serif font as your main model font:  

  • Your model is established and has endurance. 
  • You worth custom. 
  • You’re credible and educated. 
  • Folks can belief you – it doesn’t matter what. You’re dependable and a known-quantity. 
  • Your services or products is well worth the reassuringly-high costs that you simply cost! 

The model archetypes that serif fonts usually align with? Royals, Sages, Lovers… these would possibly give you the results you want! 

Sans-Serif Fonts

The second main class is the sans serif. And… You guessed it! …Since “sans” means “with out,” these typefaces don’t have the little additional strokes or flares on the ends.

In on a regular basis life, you’ll see these fonts on freeway indicators (the place readability is vital!), in logos of extra innovative manufacturers, and on the covers of extra modern magazines.

You’ll additionally usually see sans serif fonts on-line and on web sites. For that purpose alone, they really feel extra trendy to us. In addition they are inclined to really feel extra informal and youthful. 

Frequent examples of sans serif fonts are Arial, Montserrat, Proxima Nova, and Open Sans. 

Top-of-the-line issues about these fonts are that they’re very versatile. You possibly can pair them with different fonts which have extra of an expressive persona to present them extra stability. 

Listed here are a few of the associations individuals are prone to make in case you’re utilizing a serif font as your main model font:  

  • Your model is contemporary, modern. 
  • You’re no-nonsense. 
  • You’re on high of the most recent improvements – and perhaps even forward of the curve. 
  • You’re straight-forward, direct, and sensible. 

Innocents, Mavericks, Heroes… Sans serif fonts is perhaps nice selections for you. 

Script Fonts

The third main class of font is the script font – or the handwritten fonts. 

A few of our favourite manufacturers use scripts fonts – and are fairly recognizable due to that alternative! Kellogg’s cereal, Instagram, Coca-Cola, Virgin Airways… their logos all function script fonts.

These are typically extra informal and really feel welcoming. Typically they’re extra pleasant and much more female – however that’s not all the time the case. (For instance, a graffiti-style script font will elicit completely different feelings than a script that appears prefer it was written on a love letter – or by a toddler.) 

Some script fonts you could know embrace: Playfair Script, Allura, Pacifico, and Mr. Defoe.*** 

⚠️ ***WARNING: As a result of script and hand-written fonts are so distinctive and recognizable, the standard suspects (like these above) can begin to look fairly over-used and pedestrian. 

If you happen to actually need to choose a script font, you would possibly have to go attempting to find one thing that’s contemporary (and legible). Tread rigorously, lest you find yourself a cliche! ⚠️… (Simply ask Ryan Gosling and the forged of Saturday Evening Dwell… 🤣🤣🤣 … I can’t cease laughing.)

If our sans-serifs are the versatile ones, then our scripts are kind of the alternative! They’re just like the talent gamers. They’re explosive and impactful – however they should be used extraordinarily sparingly, for a few key causes:

They are often fairly loud, psychologically. They inform us so much as a result of they carry with them a number of additional context.

They’re not normally very readable, in order that they don’t lend themselves properly to lengthy headlines, and so they positively can’t be used for physique paragraphs.

Generally, script fonts work properly as an addition to your fundamental fonts. They’re nice for including flare or emphasis – and to present your model a really distinctive taste and a few curiosity.  

Hand-written and script fonts can work as accents for lots of the archetypes… however Lovers, Caregivers, Mavericks, and Creators? These is perhaps particularly aligned for you. 

Okay, in order that’s it. That’s my font article. Three sorts of fonts…

BUT, WAIT! Psyche! 

I’m throwing in a BONUS class – only for Y-O-U. 🙂 Right here you go… 

Ornamental or “Show” Fonts

It’s true – most branding students will say there are three sorts of typography… 

However there are some fonts which can be simply so distinct or distinctive that they don’t reeeeeaaaallly fall into one of many three buckets we’ve outlined above. 

These are those which can be simply… properly…sort of bizarre. (And we like bizarre round right here, so we need to acknowledge them!)

These are those that look very ornamental. You realize those… I’ve seen some that evoke the previous west – or incorporate flowers proper into the letters. Equally to script fonts, they need to be used very sparingly – however they are often an efficient strategy to infuse an enormous dose of persona to your model. 

⚠️ Show fonts come together with a bit extra baggage although, so I have to give you one other caveat right here. ⚠️ They are typically fairly fashionable – which implies they’ll exit of fashion comparatively rapidly.

It’s an necessary lesson I educate shoppers and college students… We need to base your model on fact, not developments. 

By defining and leaning into the reality about who you might be and the way you present up on this planet, you’ll be able to construct a model that can stand the check of time. (And also you received’t must re-brand each six months!) 

As a result of we worth timelessness, we don’t need to do something that’s too fashionable within the main expression of your model. If you happen to use show or ornamental fonts in any respect, my suggestion is to incorporate them for a marketing campaign or a selected product that you simply’re releasing now – for a finite interval. 

If you would like your fundamental model property to serve you for a few years, follow the serif fonts, the sans serif fonts, and the script fonts for something that’s going to be central to your model. 

Including Dimension 

When you’ve chosen candidates to your fundamental model fonts, needless to say you’ll be able to add dimension and variation by kinds, too. And, these fashion selections will convey various things as properly. 

A really daring font – or a primary font in daring – will really feel very robust and durable. In the meantime, a very skinny, dainty font will really feel extra ethereal, trendy, and light-weight. 

Fonts which can be very squished collectively and condensed (Nerd alert: 🤓 The time period for the house in between letters or characters is known as kerning!) can really feel very frantic and high-energy. Whereas typography that’s very unfold out can have a extra luxurious really feel – a extra relaxed, assured really feel. 

If you happen to use the ALL CAPS model of your fonts in your fundamental paragraphs, it will possibly really feel such as you’re shouting at individuals. 🙉 However when used for headlines, capitalization feels robust and assertive. Plus, generally – relying on the font that you simply’re utilizing – the all-caps can simply look extra clear – nearly mixing into the background. So, in case you have a number of different loud design components, selecting all caps is perhaps a pleasant strategy to look clear or a bit streamlined.

A pattern I’ve been seeing of late is to make use of all lowercase in textual content – particularly in headlines or logos. Whereas it’s a bit fad-ish (and you know the way I really feel about THAT! 😐), it does add a playful, surprising really feel. Or, it will possibly subtly convey that you simply’re not following the principles. (May be excellent for an Harmless-Maverick archetype mix!) 

Fonts are enjoyable. (Weeeeee!) And, there’s much more to them than simply 26 letters and a few symbols! Keying into the sentiments they convey – and the concepts they stand for within the minds of your clients? Fairly genius. 🤓

Whether or not you’re completely geeking out alongside me – otherwise you’re new to the language and persona of typography – I hope this text gave you some new insights into the psychology behind how we use fonts in our manufacturers. 

Remark beneath… Do you might have favourite fonts? Have you ever chosen them to your model? I’d like to see what you might have chosen – and listen to why you chose them.  





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