Font Psychology 101

Brand identity is created with the use of font. Different fonts convey different messages. To make a strong first impression, using the proper font for your brand is key. Designers utilize fonts to evoke an emotional response, most commonly found in logo design and headline text. In these instances, emotions matter more than readability. Fonts reflect the personality of the business or message which is why it’s so important to consider what identity you want to portray before choosing a font for your brand. Similar to color psychology, font psychology is used to evoke emotions and feelings. In this article, I will take a look at different font types and explain the psychology behind each.

The Psychology Behind Serif Fonts

Responses: Traditional, Trusted, Stable, Respectable

Popular styles: Times, Bodoni, Garamond, and Georgia

Serif fonts in logo design and headline text are used for companies seeking a distinguished and traditional personality. Companies with logos using serif fonts often are seen as respectable, reliable, and stable, making the viewer feel a sense of comfort knowing they can trust the company. However, depending on the company, serif fonts can often appear too stoic, uptight, and old-fashioned, so their use should be very specific to the personality they need to portray. These are a few successful examples where designers have used serif fonts in an effort to portray trust and reliability, as well as evoke a level of style and sophistication not found in other font styles.

The Psychology Behind Sans Serif Fonts

Responses: Straightforward, Sensible, Modern, Clean

Popular styles: Helvetica, Arial, Verdana, and Calibri

Sans serif fonts in logo design are used for companies desiring to be seen as modern and sensible. Audiences view sans serif fonts as clean and simplistic. The message of the company is straight and to the point. In headline text, sans serif fonts are most legible from far away because of their lack of adornments. They are also the easiest font to read when printed very small. Researchers have found that being able to read easily makes people feel better. In many cases, when they have to struggle to understand text, they have a physical reaction such as frowning or feeling frustration. Sans serif fonts are the most readable font, and therefore, a popular choice when it comes to logo design and headline text.

The Psychology Behind Script Fonts

Responses: Personal, Elegant, Feminine, Creative

Popular styles: Brush Script, Zapfino, Scriptina, and Lucinda

Since they often resemble handwriting, script fonts are often used when a company needs their audience to perceive them as personal and affectionate, and their message as genuinely heartfelt. Script fonts are intriguing, elegant, and sophisticated. They also represent a feminine and creative side. These fonts are not often used for headline text since they can be difficult to read. But for companies seeking a personal connection with their audience, script fonts are very successful in helping them make that connection.

The Psychology Behind Slab Serif Fonts

Responses: Fun, Funky, Modern, Strong

Popular styles: Clarendon, Rockwell, Bevan and Courier

Characterized by thick, bold-like serifs, slab serif fonts are fun and funky. Some offer an urban feel, while others resemble the printing of a typewriter and, therefore, offer a sense of comfort and antiquity. These fonts are very bold, strong and solid which make them highly successful options when used in headline text for festivals or concerts. Some car manufacturers use slab serif fonts in their logo designs to give their cars a sense of being modern and bold. Mostly, these fonts are fun, easy to read, and make an audience feel happy.

The Psychology Behind Modern Fonts

Responses: Trendy, Smart, Stylish, Progressive

Popular styles: Eurostyle, Majoram, Matchbook, and Politica

Modern fonts are smart and trendy. They are fashionable, forward-thinking, and attention-grabbing. The brands that utilize modern fonts in their branding are seen by audiences as companies that are setting trends. They are companies that are looking at the future and its possibilities. Note: Modern fonts are highly successful when targeting Millenials.

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