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Fonts and first impressions

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Tuesday February 6, 2007 )

The study does have me thinking though that I should probably break out of a decade long habit of composing new emails in Courier New. I think I’ll try shooting for cuddly for a day or two; that should go down well in my communications with potential customers and partners ;).

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The fonts we use say a lot about personality types according to a university study carried out last year… and the type of font we use in email and on our sites may not be the impression we’d like to put forward.

In an online survey carried out by The Software Usability Research Laboratory (SURL), participants scored the “personality” of 20 fonts and also chose which uses were most appropriate for those fonts.

The resulting report entitled Perception of Fonts: Perceived Personality Traits and Uses, is an interesting read and tells me that the email font I use for general communications is perceived as being conformist, dull, unimaginitive and plain, bordering on being sad, unattractive and rigid. Well, I’m not Brad Pitt, but I’m certainly not Quasimodo either.

Poor old Courier New :).

It seems that if I want to get across that I’m stable, formal and mature, I should use Times New Roman; for practicality, it’s Georgia; politeness, attractiveness and elegance, then MonoType Corsiva. If I wish to seem cuddly, Kristen is the go.

Interestingly, Verdana and Arial didn’t rate as the top choice for any of the more positive traits.

The fonts chosen for the comparison were a selection of serif fonts, sans serif, scripted/fun fonts, monospaced fonts and display or modern fonts.

The survey results are an interesting read, but before you change the text style of your site content or email fonts; bear in mind that if the viewer/reader doesn’t have those fonts on their system, what they see may be quite different to what you intended; which can cause problems particularly on your site.

The study does have me thinking though that I should probably break out of a decade long habit of composing new emails in Courier New. I think I’ll try shooting for cuddly for a day or two; that should go down well in my communications with potential customers and partners ;).



 

 
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