The Psychology of Typography

There are millions of fonts floating around out there in the ether, yes some even more creative than Comic Sans, so it can be difficult to pin down exactly which one will lead your brand into battle against your competitors. According to researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology it takes less than than two-tenths of a second for a user to form their first impression so it’s imperative that the typography of your brand, in particular on your website, is spot on.

Fonts can be broken down into various sub categories, however there are four most basic categories all of which convey different messages.


serif font


The ‘serif’ typeface is known to be the most traditional style that promotes respect and grandeur. A ‘serif’ is basically a small line or ‘flick’ that is attached to the end of a stroke in a letter. This font style has been widely regarded in the past as the most legible font when used for body text in print, however research on the matter has been inconclusive and the advent of on screen viewing has further blurred the lines as to the readability of the typeface. In the end, it comes down to whichever font conveys the right message about your brand; serif or sans serif.


sans serif


A ‘sans serif’ typeface is exactly as it sounds, a font that is without serifs. Because this style of font lacks these additional lines it is seen as clean, modern and relatively ‘safe’ when it comes to branding your business. A majority of modern big brands use sans serif fonts, so there is a train of thought that this style is becoming somewhat saturated throughout the market. A prime example of this is the US ‘Gap’ brand swapping from serif to sans serif, then back to serif because of the backlash of the revised logo.


slab serif


While ‘slab serif’ is technically an offshoot of the ‘serif’ typeface there has been such a strong movement toward this style that its own classification is warranted. The bolder serifs on the letters add a level of modernity, strength and creativeness to the text. This style is great for big bold logos, headings or subheadings but not so great for body text.


script font


The ‘script’ style is seen to be more elegant, welcoming and creative than the previous three styles. Some of the most popular brand logos have been created in this style, need we mention Coca-cola or Cadbury? However you will notice within these brands they seldom use ‘script’ text for the rest of their branding collateral due to it’s complexity and readability (it’s generally always coupled with a simple ‘sans serif), so be careful.

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