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Jun 13

How Typography Can Influence A Reader

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If you’re in the know around here then you totally get that learning typography is an essential skill every designer should have. But have we mentioned just how influential it can be? Yep, yep!

Whether you want to know why you should learn typography or you need some talking points for a particularly stubborn client who’s married to default styles and large blocks of text (yes, that client), you’ve come to the right place.

Ready to learn the not-so-secret secrets of typography’s influential prowess? Let’s do it!

(Type)face Value

Let’s first take typography at face value. When it’s done well, it just looks nice. Makes sense, right?

And if it looks nice, we want to see more of it, we pay attention to it, and we remember it- specifically as something positive.

Even if that was all there was to the persuasive power of typography, those effects alone could tip the scales in your client’s favor and lead to higher conversion rates.

But it doesn’t “just” look nice. If you look a little closer, there are brains behind that beauty.

Typography Communicates Tone

Good typography influences readers by setting the right tone for the content or copy.

Everything about the text, from the softness or sharpness of the shapes in the font, to the colors, the size of the letters, and yes, even the number of lines and spacing in each paragraph, tells the reader what tone of voice to read the message in.

As Frank-N-Furter would say, "Don't dream it, be it." Or, in this case, create it!

If a reader misinterprets the intent behind what’s being said, the message will evoke an entirely different reaction than what was intended. Can you think of other typography choices the folks behind The Rocky Horror Picture Show could have used that would have completely changed the vibe?

Typography Evokes Emotion

The tone of a message absolutely tells the reader how to feel, but so do… a bunch of other things!

Color Theory

As designers, we have a good grasp of the art and science behind color theory. When designing a new logo or interior space, for example, you consider the mood you want to set and the colors you’ll use (and avoid!) to set that mood.

Apply those same principles to typography and BAM! Game = changed.

Shape and Style

Some fonts can be read as more welcoming and warm than others. Serif fonts, for example, might create a more formal and serious mood than a typeface without serifs.

And, of course, different styles of the same font can pull on the heartstrings, too. Everything changes when you change the style!

S p a c i n g

The use of white space in your typography design is an incredible thing. Some clients may try to argue that it’s a “waste of space,” but trust us on this one- breathing room matters!

Unless you’re intentionally evoking a feeling of overwhelm, there should always be plenty of space for your text and design elements to breathe.

This gives the reader time to rest their eyes and lets their brain catch up before you hit them with more information. Maintaining that calm and controlled mood can also work to help the reader stay engaged longer and retain information.

With so many emotions to evoke, so many ways to evoke them, and an abundance of fonts to choose from, we could clearly just go on and on and on. Orrrrr you could just join us in our typography class online! ::wink::

Typography Establishes Credibility and Trust

For real though, the influence that typography has on the level of credibility and trustworthiness a reader assigns to your message is no laughing matter.

There have been some pretty big experiments based on this idea! About a decade ago, the New York Times showed the same information to 40,000 readers, but they showed it using six different font styles.

The author of the article called it a “test of the effect of typefaces on truth.” As you might’ve guessed, the different font styles made a measurable difference.

Readers who read the info in the Baskerville font style were way more likely to agree with the validity of the information. Is it at all surprising that people who read it in Comic Sans were far less likely to agree? Not a chance!

Pop quiz- can you tell which is which below?

If the goal is to convert a reader into a customer or client, or if the goal is just to keep them coming back to the same site again and again, then establishing trust and credibility is critical.

Sure, that should be factored into the content itself, but your ability to rule the elements of typography to add to that foundation of trust for your client is what will ultimately set you apart as a designer.

We’re not saying that choosing the correct typeface is all that matters, we’re just sayin’ that we wouldn’t take career advice from someone using lobster as one of their primary display fonts.

Typography Helps Brand Relationship and Recognition

One of the coolest things about typography’s influence on a reader is its ability to stick with them long after they click away. For a brand to be associated with beautiful design, clear communication, the right mood, and reliability is just… chefs kiss.

This is what you bring to the table as a designer with experience and practice in typography. Getting that experience and practice is easier and more affordable than you might think!

Ready to improve your craft? We’ve got you covered for Typography 101. Not only do we have a seggsy typography course online, but we also have heaps of free resources on our YouTube channel and website.

You’re just a couple of clicks away from influencing the masses! Please type responsibly.

Kristin Lajeunesse