We’ve touched slightly on the psychology and different perspectives on the influence of font-faces. Now we’ll look into the application of this research into print media and marketing. We would focus on the three perspectives mentioned in the previous post: legibility, suitability, and personality. We’ll also divide print media categories into single page media (or at least media with fewer pages), and multiple page media.
Single Page Print Media
Among the print materials that fall into this category are business cards, flyers, and leaflets. The reason we didn’t bunch them up together with multiple page media is because often print media with many pages would need to carry a motif or theme throughout many pages or folds, whereas single page material just presents the message in a single serving.
When it comes to single page media, legibility is not as much an issue. After all, there’s only so much space in one page or fold – whatever graphic elements included into it should not hinder the text. But the text itself should be able to stand alone and influence the audience in a preferred manner. For instance, a doctor’s business card should use very respectable and professional fonts (think Times New Roman, Bookman Antiqua, and the like). Allowing a bit of imagination, a professional landscaping artist’s card could feature Verdana font. Of course, the subliminal message in choosing Verdana might be lost to people who don’t know the significance of it. Suitability and personality tend to be restricted – there’s not much white space to fill, and most of it often used for graphic elements.
Multiple Page Print Media
Here’s where the factors of legibility, suitability, and personality take a more focal role. Brochures and pamphlets fall into the multiple page category, and as we all know, these print media communicate more data (and employ more sales pitches) than single page media. There are a few points to remember:
Legibility – Ensure the text is readable. Remember, your audience wants to know the bottom line fast – don’t confuse them with swirly text where they can mistake C’s for G’s. Just like in the Web, choose fonts that are readable and scanable in themselves without relying on layout techniques and desktop publishing technology.
Suitability – In a nutshell, fonts that are suitable to the media work well with the overall motif or theme. If there is no motif or theme (there should be), the text should at least work well with the colors, lines, and curves of the layout. It may be barely noticeable, but font-faces that clash with the layout can irk subliminal areas of your audience’s psyches. This means they need to overcome this quirk in perception before being able to digest the actual contents of your print media.
Personality – Last but not the least, the personality your choice of font conveys would be associated with the personality of your business. The problem with this factor is that it depends mainly on popular perception and general conventions on stereotypes and preconceived notions. To be safe, you might want to stick with font-faces that are generally accepted to have a certain personality that works well with your layout and message.
The depth and breadth of the nitty-gritty of the psychology of fonts is pretty confusing. Hopefully, we’ve tackled above the important points that would make a difference in your print media.