Serious Type

Why not meet your heroes. We have? After recently sharing lunch with me at a street food market in his local Brixton neighbourhood, Bruno Maag, Chairman, @DaltonMaag now outlines to us the emotional value of fonts, and why their choice is important. Many thanks Bruno for his contribution!

As part of my research into fonts and emotions, I came across a couple of journal articles, one by the American Law Society and the other from the Journal of Marketing. Both articles highlight the importance of ‘choice of font’ as a way to positively represent a legal argument or provide the appropriate emotional tone for a brand. Numerous psychological studies have shown that a reader’s perception of a brand is affected by the font.

Cultural background and exposure to fashion trends shape our thinking on attributes such as elegance and luxury, or informal and fun, or serious and trustworthy. We apply these attributes to fonts based on how they have been used in the past and how they are associated with products, services and actions. This is why fashion magazines and luxury brands tend to use high contrast or very light fonts in their mastheads to portray elegance, wispiness. Or why financial institutions use serious and usually quite classic font designs appropriate to their market segments.

At times, we have seen brands ignoring the seriousness of ‘choice of font’ at their peril. Customers connect with their brand, and in some cases even feel ownership of the brand, as seen with the example of GAP which has been building a solid brand since 1969. GAP’s decision to introduce a new logotype was met with uproar and attracted such overwhelmingly negative publicity that their Board decided to scrap the new design and continue using the original and trusted iconic blue box logo. Tone of voice matters, whether spoken or written.

Bruno Maag.