I’ve heard of choosing a fragrance based on your mood, choosing a gift based on how well you know somebody and even choosing stationary based on the purpose of your note, but choosing a typeface to elicit a certain emotional response? I don’t think so.
In a recent BBC article, "Do Typefaces Really Matter?" the author describes the growing social obsession with typeface. It is becoming more normal to see leading globe companies changing their typeface to ascertain certain emotions from the public, certain fonts with cult-like followings and movies, such as James Cameron’s Avatar, torn to shreds by graphic designers for using an unsatisfactory font for the subtitles.
But do typefaces really make a difference? Does a subtle change in typeface convey a set of values to the reader? Maybe. Some argue that a typeface communicates tone of voice, recognition and security, and even sets of values.
In the BBC article, Julie Strawson, director of Monotype Imaging, an international type-design company says, “selecting a font is like getting dressed. Just as one chooses an outfit according to the occasion, one decides on a font according to the kind of message you are seeking to convey.”
In the world of public relations, we are constantly thinking about how messages are communicated, what language is most appropriate, what images best communicate a message and how a message will resonate with a chosen audience; however, typeface is rarely a consideration. Of course, Comic Sans, Stencil and Lucida Script are out, but analyzing how a message will resonate with a person based on the difference between Arial, Times New Roman and Sans Serif isn’t usually part of the drill.
I have a feeling the closer you look, the more this trend will start popping up in daily life. And, although I can’t see myself going so far as to dissect the difference between Serif and Sans Serif, next time I am about to hit send on an email I will consider what message my typeface might be sending all on its own.
-Contributed by Madeline Koessler. Follow her @MKoessler