How typography can influence your customer

So you are designing a poster, flyer or leaflet? We’re sure you have already thought of most of the elements that you need to consider. Such as which message you want to convey, which colours you’re going to use, where you are going to put your logo and so on. All of these aspects are very important for an effective end result. But there is one aspect that is a lot of times severely overlooked: typography.

When you speak, anything from your expression to your gestures and posture play a big role in the message that eventually comes across. But when it comes to writing, all there is are the words and the literal meaning of those words, right? Well, not really. When it comes to written text there is one aspect that actually plays the same role that your gesture would for your speech: typography. Different types of typographies have the ability to add a different emotion to text.

How typography can influence your customer

A lot of research has been done to explain this phenomenon. When we look at text, our eyes follow the lines. This makes reading an actual physical experience. You can compare it to the way you react to people’s body language. In a survey conducted by Poffenberger and Barrows in 1933, people were asked to match emotions to different types of shapes. Downward lines were considered ‘doleful’, while upward lines gave participants a sense of joy.

How typography can influence your customer
Source: Why Fonts Matter by Sarah Hyndman.
How typography can influence your customer
Source: Why Fonts Matter by Sarah Hyndman.
How typography can influence your customer
Source: Why Fonts Matter by Sarah Hyndman.

All different emotions you can think of, believe it or not, can be expressed with typography. A couple of psychologists once let more than a hundred students in New York read a satirical article from the New York Times. One part of the group was given the article Arial and the other part got one in Times New Roman. Afterwards, it was concluded that Times New Roman was the better typography for a satirical article because it seemed angrier and funnier.

So typography actually mirrors the emotions that we usually show by gestures and facial expressions. Our face becomes more round when we smile, which is why a more round typography conveys this emotion. This is also true for your handwriting. When you’re in a hurry it will get more italicised and when you are mad it becomes bolder. Try filling in this form above and think about which typography explains each feeling the best
So this is how the people that filled in this form felt about which typography conveys emotions the best way. There are some of them that aren’t as clear, but some of them are very clear especially the emotion ‘calm’.

How typography can influence your customer

All of this information can be very valuable to marketers as well as graphic designers. When you have established the goal of your marketing campaign or design and know exactly how you want the consumer to feel, you can then find the right typography to make that happen.

So what do you think? Did you ever realize how typography can actually affect you emotionally? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!