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Font Psychology and Typography | The Advanced Guide

Navdeep Singh Gill | 24 Nov 2022

Font Psychology and Typography

What is Font Psychology?

We see millions of fonts every day, from the news we read to the ads we see on our way to work. Those who succeed stay with us, but those who fail to reach their goals mean something isn't doing its job it needs to.

The theory used in psychology to explain how others perceive typefaces is the Kolenda typeface model. This is a step-by-step guide on how we perceive what we write and what we associate with it. A person who sees font associates that font with its characteristics. For example, Times New Roman.

It is used in nearly all applications on print and the web. This font is preferable due to its legibility and clearity. If the user isn't sure what the best font for their medical printed materials is, Times New Roman is always a great go-to.

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What is Typography?

Before delving further into typefaces and their potential meanings, the basic rules and terminology of typography should also be applied and considered. In short, typography is the art of creating messages in a visually appealing way. It also affects the psychology of fonts. If you want to evoke thoughts about size and fineness, adjusting spacing and deciding whether to use uppercase or lowercase letters will affect people's perceptions and thoughts about fonts and branding.

Shape and Color Psychology

It is also worth observing the rules of the psychology of shapes and colors. Morphological psychology examines geometric forms and how they evoke emotions and feelings in the viewer. This also affects fonts, as they contain geometrically shaped elements. You can also make the font more rounded to create relaxed, pleasing waves or harsh lines that evoke a completely different look and feel in the viewer. Color psychology also plays a significant role in the changes in human moods that fluctuate with different hues and shades. With the proper cultural context and knowledge, you can successfully use shapes and colors to create the mood you want your typeface to embody.

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Why to use font psychology?

Behind biblical psychology is the power that drives decisions and goals. Being open to understanding how people respond to typefaces means that you can influence how your audience perceives your designs and business.

When we design something, we have the end goal in mind. One of the essential tools in your design toolkit is the ability to choose fonts that inspire and enhance your message and help you achieve the goals you're trying to achieve. If you're designing for a flash sale, using the proper signage font will encourage consumers to buy rather than browse. The perfect combination of fonts for your social media posts increases the likelihood that consumers will return and stay engaged with your content. When you create excitement, confidence, and anticipation, people will be excited to engage with you and purchase from you.

Types of fonts and their meaning

There are six font styles, each with a different character, from profound tradition to bold confidence. Look at each typeface to understand how and what it communicates.

Serif Fonts

We've all used serif fonts at some point. They are considered one of the most traditional font choices. They are most commonly used to create a classic, traditional and stable look. This font is perfect for brands and businesses that want to make an established impression or inspire trust and respect.

Companies most likely to use serif fonts include law firms, insurance companies, and consultants. It is also helpful for businesses wishing to convey knowledge and authority on a subject and design more formal situations. 

Slab Serif Fonts

A clean, crisp, modern sans-serif font that is minimalist and appealing. These fonts embody a straightforward, no-nonsense attitude, but they also feel progressive and open. No extra decoration to distract the eye. Sans serif takes a simple but effective approach.

There is a clear break with tradition here, a psychological link between adventure and modernity. This clean, simple look is the font used by tech companies (think Google's logo switching from serif to sans serif in 2015) and brands that pride themselves on being forward-thinking and modern—often seen in Check out Arial, Century Gothic, and Helvetica for classic examples.

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Script Fonts

Are you feeling daydreamed? Try script fonts. It evokes femininity and elegance, and handwritten elements inspire creativity. Fun and romantic, they mimic handwriting and graffiti shapes.

Script fonts are most likely to inspire other creative ideas rich in emotion and history. While they fit perfectly with your visual branding, they should be used sparingly and with caution, as overusing them can make text difficult to read due to their brilliant nature. Lucida Script, Lobster, and Zapfino are well-known fonts.

Modern Fonts

A modern font is a style that is modern, contemporary, new, and different from past fonts. They take on a more futuristic look but are rooted in his 18th-century history, first printed in 1784 by typographer Firmin Didot. Modern fonts are practical and playful, alternating thick and thin strokes for legibility.

Display fonts

Display fonts are often used for large-format media such as billboards, headlines, and book covers. There are serifs, slab serifs, and sans serifs. It can also have a unique and decorative style. Fresh and innovative, these fonts are only used for flashy headlines but can contain pictorial elements.

When using a display font, its style affects what viewers associate with that font. Display fonts can generally evoke a more casual, fun, or unique look and feel. The biggest plus is that you can customize the font to fit your personality perfectly. This is great for any type of business. Look at Bombing, Gigi, and Jokerman as examples of this.

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At its core, the psychology of fonts is the visual and emotional response to the fonts you see. According to Albert Mehrabian's rules of personal communication, 93% of personal connections are non-verbal, meaning ideas and values ​​should be communicated as simply as possible. What we see affects our thoughts, feelings, and actions in many ways.