Seeing is believing, even when you’re reading

Ever since the first printing press and the resulting boom in literacy and the availability of the printed word, another commodity arose. Font, is now such a simple word, it’s easy to forget its historical context. Font was initially from the French fondre meaning to melt or cast; a far cry from our current association with it. By just tapping a few keys and a swift mouse click, letters and words are formed and can quickly be changed. A recent New York Times Opinion piece confirmed something I’ve always believed: fonts matter. Whether it is one of your favorite books or an email from a colleague, you draw impressions on the veracity based on what you’re seeing.

Hear, All Ye People; Hearken, O Earth by Errol Morris shows a study where people are asked the same question in different fonts. What the study concluded is that people will inherently believe words written in some fonts more than others. The font Baskerville performed particularly well with more people agreeing with statements and fewer people disagreeing. Even the famous Helvetica had much lower levels of both. One of the least believable fonts, which should be of no surprise to anyone anywhere, is the infamous Comic Sans. If you’re proclaiming the sky is blue and you want to be believed (or if you’re applying for a job), you shouldn’t do it in Comic Sans. If you’re a recovering Comic Sans criminal, don’t worry, there is help at the Library. Or, if you don’t have time to pick up holds- there’s an app for that.

This entry was posted in BOOKS, CULTURE, LISTS, Nonfiction and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Seeing is believing, even when you’re reading

  1. As all graphic designers know, font importance is definitely a thing. It’s amazing how a serif here and a swoop there can completely change the mood of a printed, or electronic, piece.

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