The Calculated Creative

3 Reasons To Rethink Typography

Use it wisely as one tool among many, but don't expect miracles from font choice alone.

You may not realize it, but the fonts used in marketing materials can subtly influence how consumers perceive a brand.

And while focusing too much on font psychology risks over-engineering the customer experience...

Typography can also be a useful tool to positively shape messaging.

Serif vs Sans Serif: Do Font Styles Really Matter?

  • Conventional marketing wisdom says serif fonts like Times New Roman better promote perceptions of trust, tradition and authority. Clean sans serifs like Helvetica seem more neutral, minimalist and modern.
  • But context matters far more than stylistic font details alone. An outdoor apparel company would be misplaced using Times New Roman in its branding. Authenticity with target customers is key.
  • Judicious use of serif vs sans serif font styles can accentuate marketing messaging. But a brand must connect with audiences on its own substantive terms, not attempt stylistic tricks via font choice.

Font Personality: Should You Care What Typeface "Says" About Your Brand?

  • Creative directors, graphic designers and marketers spend endless hours passionately arguing over what font best matches their brand's personality.
  • But this risks radically overengineering the customer experience. It imparts outsized importance on minor stylistic choices unlikely to make a major impact on how most customers perceive a brand.
  • By focusing obsessively on font personality matching, brands divert resources from core offerings that provide real value. They also restrict their ability to flexibly meet new customer needs under an artificially rigid framework.
  • Keep font choice simple and focus on substance over style. Typography plays a supporting role to strong products and services.

Influencing Emotion: Do Fonts Really Drive How People Feel?

  • Marketers often claim certain fonts inherently spark specific emotions. For example, blackletter fonts allegedly signal tradition, class and reliability. Script fonts inject friendliness and elegance. Trade Gothic promotes calm and clarity.
  • But the link between typeface emotional signaling and actual human feelings is weak at best. Context, previous brand exposure, marketing messaging and individual subjective experiences play a far greater role in driving emotional response.
  • Don't rely on fonts to magically sway emotions. Lean on typography carefully to support effective communication, not pull emotional strings beyond connection to messaging.

The Takeaway

Good marketing requires empathy, authenticity and clarity no matter what fonts you choose.

Don't overthink the typography.

Focus on respecting customers, understanding their needs and clearly communicating how you can help.

Font selection plays a supporting role to this mission.

Use it wisely as one tool among many, but don't expect miracles from font choice alone.

Cohesive strategy liberates brands to succeed on their own terms.

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