Photo by jordis small on Unsplash
When we think of graphic design, elements like color, negative space, movement, and shape come to mind. However, one often-overlooked element in graphic design, and signage design, is font. Using font psychology in signage is just as critical as capturing other design elements effectively.
Why is Font Important?
Similar to how viewers associate specific colors and shapes with particular feelings, experiences, or ideas, fonts can evoke similar associations. Whether these associations are innate or learned, we have ideas about which aesthetics match certain activities or concepts.
For instance, fonts that resemble handwriting are often associated with child-like qualities, which is why they work well for preschools and daycares. Conversely, chunky block letters are more readily connected with an intense training gym or military surplus store, whereas a fitness class poster would not typically use a font that looks like a child wrote it.
The examples mentioned earlier highlight the importance of various font elements, such as thickness, spacing, slant, and style (serif vs. sans serif, script vs. block), which play a crucial role in determining the font that best represents your brand.
The Importance of Using Font Psychology
Utilizing font psychology can greatly impact the success of your design and business goals. By understanding how people react to different fonts, you can influence how your target audience perceives your brand.
When creating a design, the ultimate objective is to achieve specific outcomes. One crucial aspect of the design process is selecting fonts that can inspire and convey your message effectively, enabling you to accomplish your desired goals. For instance, if you are designing a flash sale advertisement, using appropriate signage fonts can encourage consumers to buy rather than just browse. The right combination of fonts for social media posts can also increase consumer engagement with your content. By evoking emotions of excitement, trust, and anticipation, you can encourage people to engage and make purchases from your business.
However, it is equally important to avoid using the wrong fonts, which can have a negative impact and ruin all your hard work. For example, if you were promoting gifts for Mother’s Day, and used the font Georgia in your advertisements, it may evoke feelings of authority and grandeur instead of nostalgia, love, and joy that are more aligned with the campaign. If one element is out of place, it can ruin the entire design. To ensure that your logo, colors, shapes, and fonts work together harmoniously, it’s crucial to follow font psychology do’s and don’ts.
Types of Fonts
The font’s form, color, and placement should be associated with your brand’s values, mission, and vision, particularly since it will be visible on your signage.
Experts have conducted extensive research on how people associate different font styles with thickness, roundness, form complexity, slant, spacing, height, serif or sans serif, and even capitalization. Often, the font should represent the entity it is describing in terms of form. For instance, as in the earlier example, blocky letters indicate the physical strength and stability associated with fitness. If you require guidance on selecting the appropriate font for your signage, you can learn more about these specific associations here.
Below is another list of font styles and their basic associations:
- Upward slant: associated with positive attributes such as enthusiasm, exuberance, and ambition.
- Downward slant: indicates negative attributes such as grief or worry.
- Straight up and down: does not convey any emotions.
- Backward slanting: suggests a cold and calculating manner or nature.
- Forward slants: generally associated with emotional attributes.
- Right slants: indicates generosity and self-sacrifice.
- Extreme right slants: suggest nervousness and extreme emotional nature.
- Thin letters: associated with spirituality, refinement, simplicity, modest tastes, or a high sense of honor.
- Thick letters: indicates materialism and self-confidence.
- Rounded thick letters: relates to voluptuousness or sensuousness.
- Compressed letters: associated with exclusiveness or reservedness.
- Large and extended: indicates friendliness, good entertainment, or an amiable attitude.
- Low capital letters: suggests humility, simplicity, or modesty.
Fonts in Custom Signage
Font selection is crucial in custom signage. In one example, Glam Boutique, a local clothing store in South Bend, uses the right font to communicate its message and aesthetic. The script font gave the brand a luxurious feel, while the slim lettering spoke to aesthetics that most people associate with beauty: being tall and thin.
Your signage is not as easily changed as your digital assets, and sometimes, landlord restrictions may affect what aspects of your brand you can use in your signage. Thus, selecting the right font for your sign is essential as you may have to abide by that choice for many years.
So, the next time you are in a commercial area, don’t just focus on the colors and logo but also consider the fonts used in signage. Understanding font psychology and selecting the right font can make or break a brand image.
Now that you have a better understanding of the psychology behind different font types, it’s time to put this knowledge into practice. Choosing the right font that aligns with your brand identity is crucial, and finding the right inspiration is essential. If you’re having trouble deciding on a font for your business, don’t worry. You can always seek professional assistance.
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