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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… 

When you hang around right here as a result of you’re a model nerd like me 🤓, then this phrase most likely will get you PRET-ty excited. 

Possibly you’ve gotten 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 on 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 tips on the place and find out how to use them. After studying, you’ll be capable to make extra educated and intentional font choices on your model. 

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

People are wired to search for patterns. 

To grasp why sure fonts are inclined to immediate sure feelings, ideas, and responses, it’s essential to look at how people understand stuff. Over time, our brains collect information and manage it. By way of our experiences, our consumption of media, our formal and casual schooling… and extra… we’re always 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 means of 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 previously. (The flexibility to do that was vital to the survival of our Neanderthal ancestors. It helped them to determine what vegetation have been fit for human consumption, find out how to hunt efficiently, find out how 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 may faucet into a few of them to ship indicators to folks about your model. 

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

When you select your fonts based mostly on the psychological narrative that’s already current, the way you need folks to really feel, and what you need them to know 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 convey. 

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

In case you are serious about uncovering Y-O-U-R archetypes, you’ll be able to take my free Model Character Quiz!)

Psssst… You’ll be able to pin 📌 this text for reference!

Serif Fonts 

Serif fonts have small additional strokes (known as serifs!) on the finish of every major 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 comply with 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. Additionally they grace the covers of a few of our tradition’s most venerable newspapers and magazines (like Vogue and The New York Occasions). 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 motive, we will get just a few completely different associations from serif fonts. They really feel very basic, trendy, dependable, conventional and typically even formal. 

Broadly-available serif fonts embody Occasions New Roman, Georgia, Palatino, Garamond, and Abril Show.

Listed here are a number of the associations individuals are more likely to make in the event 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 just cost! 

The model archetypes that serif fonts typically align with? Royals, Sages, Lovers… these may 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 essential!), in logos of extra leading edge manufacturers, and on the covers of extra up to date magazines.

You’ll additionally typically see sans serif fonts on-line and on web sites. For that motive alone, they really feel extra trendy to us. Additionally 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’ll be able to pair them with different fonts which have extra of an expressive character to provide them extra stability. 

Listed here are a number of the associations individuals are more likely to make in the event you’re utilizing a serif font as your main model font:  

  • Your model is contemporary, up to date. 
  • You’re no-nonsense. 
  • You’re on prime of the newest improvements – and possibly even forward of the curve. 
  • You’re straight-forward, direct, and sensible. 

Innocents, Mavericks, Heroes… Sans serif fonts may be nice decisions 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 characteristic script fonts.

These are usually extra informal and really feel welcoming. Typically they’re extra pleasant and much more female – however that’s not at all times 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 baby.) 

Some script fonts you might know embody: 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. 

When you actually need to choose a script font, you may must 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 Reside… 🤣🤣🤣 … I can’t cease laughing.)

If our sans-serifs are the versatile ones, then our scripts are form of the other! They’re just like the talent gamers. They’re explosive and impactful – however they must 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 plenty of additional context.

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

Usually, script fonts work nicely as an addition to your major fonts. They’re nice for including flare or emphasis – and to provide your model a really distinctive taste and a few curiosity.  

Hand-written and script fonts can work as accents for most of the archetypes… however Lovers, Caregivers, Mavericks, and Creators? These may be 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… nicely…sort of bizarre. (And we like bizarre round right here, so we need to acknowledge them!)

These are those that look very ornamental. You understand those… I’ve seen some that evoke the outdated 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 technique to infuse a giant dose of character to your model. 

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

It’s an essential lesson I train shoppers and college students… We need to base your model on reality, not traits. 

By defining and leaning into the reality about who you’re and the way you present up on the planet, you’ll be able to construct a model that can stand the take a look at of time. (And also you gained’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. When you use show or ornamental fonts in any respect, my suggestion is to incorporate them for a marketing campaign or a selected product that you just’re releasing now – for a finite interval. 

If you would like your major model property to serve you for a few years, keep on with 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 on your major model fonts, needless to say you’ll be able to add dimension and variation by means of types, too. And, these model decisions will convey various things as nicely. 

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

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

When you use the ALL CAPS model of your fonts in your major paragraphs, it may possibly really feel such as you’re shouting at folks. 🙉 However when used for headlines, capitalization feels sturdy and assertive. Plus, typically – relying on the font that you just’re utilizing – the all-caps can simply look extra clear – virtually mixing into the background. So, if in case you have plenty of different loud design components, selecting all caps may be a pleasant technique 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 just a little fad-ish (and you understand how I really feel about THAT! 😐), it does add a playful, surprising really feel. Or, it may possibly subtly convey that you just’re not following the principles. (Is perhaps 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 character of typography – I hope this text gave you some new insights into the psychology behind how we use fonts in our manufacturers. 

Remark under… Do you’ve gotten favourite fonts? Have you ever chosen them on your model? I’d like to see what you’ve gotten chosen – and listen to why you chose them.  





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