fonts Psychology:
How to choose the best typeface!

Texts, you see them everywhere. On every street corner. From road signs to advertisements. When you read a word, you will not immediately pay attention to the font. Probably the eye first falls on the colors, the overall design, the readability. But which typeface the sender of the message chooses is all-important. It tells a story. Typeface choice contributes to what feeling a communication expression has. For example, one font may exude luxury, while another conveys nostalgia. Choosing a font is an important part of a campaign, website or brand identity. But how does that work exactly? And how do you select the best typeface?


Typefaces or fonts: What's the difference?

We'll start at the beginning. In popular speech, the terms typefaces and fonts are often used interchangeably. Logical, because they point towards the same thing: the letters. But to understand how to use fonts and typefaces for a brand, it is good to first clarify the difference. A typeface is, the name kind of gives it away, the type of letter; the design. While a font choice is all about the combination of a font, thickness, and type. The complete picture. And there is a whole psychology behind it.


The psychology behind fonts

A letter. It seems so simple. Yet there is much more behind those few dashes. Put different fonts side by side and you can probably automatically make links between the typeface used and the sender. Think of the luxurious typeface of the Rolex watch brand. Or the cool, bold font of a gym. What is that based on? You just know it. It's a feeling. Right?

But it's not all that simple. There is a real psychology behind fonts. A letter is a visual symbol. And the brain is trained to link visual things to a meaning from the real world. The brain is an associative network that constantly links concepts to existing experiences. A graceful, dashing logo often represents luxury. A simple, clear font comes across as friendly and trustworthy. An italic font can convey speed and momentum. 

A font can therefore convey a semantic meaning as well as arouse a feeling. A wrong choice of font can therefore also have the opposite effect. Where matching experiences strengthen the connections between the font and the meaning. Selecting the right font and creating a corporate identity is therefore a process that requires attention. There are many things to take into account. 


Choosing a typeface: what to look for

Typography is made up of two different concepts: the verbal and the visual. In short, what the word literally means and what it conveys. These concepts must work perfectly together to communicate an impactful message towards the target audience. We share five pillars for selecting the ideal fonts for a brand.

  • Pay attention to brand identity when choosing fonts

    Did you know that 75% of consumers judge a company by its website design? Which font you choose affects how people perceive the content. In fact, each typeface has its own identity. It reflects a tone and tenor. With this, the total font tells its own story. Compare it to choosing an outfit. You also choose it with care. You probably won't go to a wedding in a bikini. And you choose a neat outfit for an important presentation. Which 'jacket' you put on determines how you come across. Therefore, it is important to choose a font that fits the positioning of the brand. A typeface should match the colors and brand values of an organization. Create unity between look and feel. And above all, convey a consistent brand experience.

  • Select a serif or sans-serif typeface

    Typefaces can be divided into serif and sans-serif types. A serif is the extra stroke and embellishment of a letter. We also call it the "sticks and tails". An example of this is the well known typeface 'Times'. The advantage of fonts with a serif is that a lot of shape variation is possible. This ensures that the letter is recognized more quickly. The disadvantage is that for some people the font is harder to read. Especially online, sans serif fonts are often preferred. These typefaces look more simplistic and modern. Often these fonts are also easier to read on screens. This contributes to effective communication and digital accessibility of a website, app or expression. The choice of a typeface with or without serifs can set the tone.

  • Choosing readable typefaces

    Brands often lean toward cool, unique typefaces to reinforce their positioning. Of course, this can contribute to the bigger picture. But in addition to brand identity, there is another element of great importance: readability. For example, psychologist Kevin Larson conducted research in which focus groups were given two texts: one with a good font and one with a bad font. The better font choice made people read the text faster. In addition, cognitive focus was higher and the text was easier to understand.

  • Picking out the best fonts for a website

    As a company you can't ignore it: a website. When choosing a typeface, you would be wise to take into account the conversion to digital content. Communications on a computer screen are structured differently than in print. Digitally, for example, you have to deal with pixels that sometimes make writing unclear. This lowers the readability of a text. The best typefaces for websites are therefore often sans serif.

    Readability is an essential part of a website, especially with regard to digital accessibility. Therefore, also test the fonts on different devices and with different browsers. A computer screen or smartphone - it can make all the difference.

  • Combine typefaces with each other

    Usually, organizations don't choose just one typeface. Often it is a mix of several elements. This makes for interesting typography. Looking at font psychology, this also works up different feelings and associations. A powerful corporate identity therefore often uses combinations. This creates a fascinating whole. Get inspired, experiment and research what different combinations do. 


Selection process of fonts in marketing

Choosing the right typeface is therefore an important element of marketing. When we at SowiesoHelder get to work on a concept and strategy for a brand's branding or campaigns, we carefully incorporate this aspect. It strengthens the brand identity. But it also determines the accessibility of websites. Or the conversion rate of digital campaigns. A font can be found in many expressions: from online videos to flyers for an(online) event. Art and copy are essential. Make sure the feel, the semantics and the look are right for the story your organization is telling. Make it matters. Also with letters.


Does your organization need advice on font psychology? Then contact us without any obligation!

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