In today’s fast-paced, always-on-the-go world, designers and marketers are always vying for their audience’s attention. Sometimes, the best way to capture a prospect has less to do with flashy designs and visuals, and more to do with the subtleties of typography. It’s also a realm that doesn’t get a whole lot of attention. Yet, with the bulk of prospects finding their way to new products and services online, typography is more important than ever. It helps the audience determine the personality of a brand, and it’s crucial for comprehension – which means you don’t want your readers struggling through content. Instead, it should be an effortless endeavor that leads readers through a hierarchy toward an end goal: your call-to-action.
Let’s have a closer look at why modern typography skills can make all the difference to the modern audience.
Personality of Typefaces and Fonts Affecting Moods of the Reader
The different typefaces and fonts your company chooses determine, in a very subtle way, the personality of your brand. Those who may not be typography aficionados may want to brush up a tad on terminology before we discuss their impact.
- Typeface – The group of characters, letters, numbers, and special symbols that share the same design style. For instance, Baskerville, Cambria, Arial are all typefaces.
- Fonts – The specific delivery mechanism of the typeface; for example, 12pt Baskerville Italic. This includes the set width, size, and weight for each
- Leading – The space between baselines (the imaginary line where characters rest upon).
- Kerning – The whitespace between individual characters of a typeface.
- Tracking – This is the letter spacing that can be adjusted over a range of characters (as opposed to kerning which is individual characters).
When visitors and prospects visit a website, sales page, or even view an advertisement, the first thing they do is scan the page as a whole. This includes taking in the typography as they instantly place a perception about the brand based on how the information is presented. It can change their mood and cognitive performance in the delivery of the information being relayed. Keeping the typeface, font, leading, kerning, and tracking in mind is a great start to understanding how your audience will interact with your content.
Serif versus Sans Serif Fonts
There are two types of fonts: serif and sans serif. For the layperson, this means a font that has little decorative embellishments (serif), or not (sans serif).
While serif fonts are typically more readable and influence better believability/authority, sans-serif fonts work better on smaller devices because of their simplicity and ability to be legible in smaller sizes.
For the modern audience, it’s important to balance authority with legibility—while still delivering enough of a personality through your typography to stand out.
Modern Typography Tip: Use serif fonts for titles and subtitles, and sans serif fonts for body copy.
Meet the Modern Audience Where They Live
Understandably, modern audiences are web savvy. They’re on their handheld devices and computers on and off all day long. Having an idea about how audiences interact with the web is one of the most important pieces to also understanding how to capture their attention, and ultimately influence their actions. Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors:
Responsive websites have been a fantastic development in the web design realm, but they provide obstacles with typography that can impact readability, comprehension, and even perception. This is especially true when taking a responsive website a step further as it downscales to a much smaller handheld device. Designers and creatives need to keep in mind the typeface scale shift when developing the typographic stylesheets.
Sizes of the type must change with the responsivity of the site, as well as the proportion of the space between characters. As screen size shrinks down, fewer elements are visible – making everything looks exaggerated and off-kilter without taking into account better proportions.
When Typography Impacts Conversions
Choosing compelling typefaces are a potent way of converting prospects into customers when done right. Knowing which fonts to pair, how much white space to include, or when to continue testing is critical. The biggest thing to remember is not to overpower your message with your typeface. You can do this most efficiently by keeping in mind the following:
- Correspondence – Pair 2 typefaces that are similar, but not identical. This allows you to create accents while preventing your readers from subconsciously picking up on their differences.
- Contrast – Pair 2 typefaces that are completely different, but complement each other without drawing too much attention. You do this by making sure they have at least one common trait.
- A/B Test – When in doubt, test the effectiveness of your typeface by running A/B tests to see which ones bring more engagements, clicks, and reader retention. It should be pretty obvious which typeface is more effective when comparing the conversion rates.
Text Ads versus Web Banners
Who knew a decade or two ago that “banner blindness” could be a thing? Here we are. Thanks in part to the overwhelm of information; it’s even filtered to mobile devices.
Studies have found that a well-placed and typographically thought out text ad can have a better conversion result than their visual banner counterpart. This is in part because they can easily blend in with the surrounding content better, and thus, avoiding the banner blindness altogether.
A Final Note
Overall, the main takeaway should not be to let the personality of a font to overpower its usefulness. There are a lot of options out there, and plenty of default settings. But sometimes, it’s the little things that matter the most. If you’re looking to build your brand’s authority, as well as its effectiveness, try digging deeper into the typography you use and watch how surprisingly powerful it can be.