4 reasons font matters in communication

Credibility is essential to effective messaging. Avoid turning your 14-karat copy into fool’s gold with a whimsical typeface.

What we say and how we say it has a major impact on our audience’s response. On a subliminal level, so does font.

Typeface, color, weight and point size are not just aesthetic factors. They make deep-seated psychological impressions on how people read, comprehend and judge your content.

With consumer skepticism at an all-time high, professionals in all branches of marketing must design their messaging more carefully than ever.

According to a study by Insights in Marketing, 74 percent of people believe ad content is untrustworthy, and 69 percent are skeptical of the information relayed about products, which raises concerns about increases in ad spending by billions year after year.

To counter this and to increase consumer confidence, businesses must be detail-focused when creating content by using every tool available to win over customers.

This is where typeface and font become indispensable. They are essential points of contact between you and your audience, yet they are often overlooked for seemingly more pressing concerns.

However, there are four chief reasons why typefaces and fonts matter more than you think:

Fonts and trust

In 2012, The New York Times conducted an experiment on its readers by publishing a two-piece article online, the first piece of which was a veiled test of the effect of typeface on credulity.

The idea was to see whether readers would respond negatively to such identifiably true statements as, “Gold has an atomic weight of 79,” if the statement was presented in Comic Sans.

The Times presented a fact-filled article on pessimism and optimism, which appeared to different sets of readers in any of six distinct typefaces. Forty-five thousand readers were then quizzed on the believability of the conclusions reached in the article.

Did typeface matter? Oh, yes.

The informal Comic Sans drew the most ire and dismissal, whereas the more formal Baskerville was the most trustworthy. Even the experimenters were surprised at the extent of typefaces’ influence over reader psychology and their overshadowing of the factual content itself.

Ellie Martin is co-founder of Startup Change group. Her work has been featured on Yahoo, Wisebread and AOL. She divides her time between Israel and her home office in New York. A version of this article originally appeared on Relevance.com.

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