More communication is taking place through a screen. Whether it’s chatting with customers over the computer at work, or arguing back and forth with your kids through text, much of your day is probably consumed by talking to people without actually hearing their voice. While this is certainly convenient and efficient, it can also make it difficult to understand the person’s intent. Sarcasm can come off as being rude, for example, or humor can be offensive. Unfortunately, if you overwhelm yourself with trying to be socially and politically correct all of the time, you’ll end up sounding boring and predictable.
Oh, it’s tough being a marketer.
It’s not just words that make a difference but the type of font used. TYPING IN ALL CAPS gives off the impression that you’re yelling or excited, based on what you type. Using a bold font draws attention to the words or sentence, making them seem more important. Even the style of font can leave an impact on your message. A fun typeface like Comic Sans looks more jovial and relaxed while something traditional like Arial or Times New Roman sets a serious tone.
Fonts Influence How We Perceive Things
The font you select for your content and marketing materials IS important. It has an impact on how the reader perceives you (the author) and the message that’s written. In this New York Times post, filmmaker and writer Errol Morris found that when people read a statement written in a formal font like Baskerville, they were more likely to agree with it than if it were written in a font like Comic Sans or Helvetica. It was like there was some type of authority that came with the statement because of the font.
Knowing that fonts play a role in how your message comes across, how do you know which types of fonts to use in your content marketing? Are there fonts that should be avoided?
Fonts Have Personality – and Culture
The first thing to understand is that each font is unique, and therefore, has a unique personality. Take the Courier font, for example. Courier fonts resemble old memos written with a typewriter, so when people see them, they think of the old days when people used typewriters. In other words, Courier fonts have their own culture.
Morris stated that there is some type of “religious pull” that connects readers to fonts. And he may just be right.
Fonts Need to be Legible
The next point to consider is the legibility that the font provides. You want to first select the font that will be most prevalent in your marketing piece. If it’s a blog post, that font will make up the majority of the article. If it’s an email you’re sending out, you may choose one font for the body and another for the subheadings. Either way, choose the font you’ll be using the most first.
It’s best not to choose decorative fonts for your main body because they are harder to read. Instead, select fonts that are clear, concise and legible so that you don’t slow your reader down. Sans-serif or Serif fonts are good examples. You can use decorative fonts for logos, single-worded phrases and headings so that they stand out.
Lines Should be Evenly Spaced
What’s between the lines is important, too. Lines that are too close together are hard on the eyes, while lines that are too far apart make the content look sloppy and disorganized. Instead, make sure that your content is evenly spaced throughout, creating an organized and well-designed look. A “relaxed read” is ideal, which pans out to a line spacing of 1.5 with a 14pt font. This type of reading environment makes the reader feel good about the content and inspired to take action.
Less IS More (in this case at least)
When it comes to marketing, you want to stand out, right? This is where it gets confusing. In an effort to stand out, many marketers choose hip, cool fonts that look different than their competition. At first glance, the page on its own may look acceptable. But when you put it next to other types of content on the internet, it ends up looking dizzy or nonsensical. So while you do want to find ways to stand out, you also want your audience to trust what you have to say.
From a branding perspective, stick to minimalist fonts that display cleanliness, orderliness and trustworthiness. You want readers to move through your site effortlessly, without being held up by complicated frills and fluff. By choosing a minimalist font, you also give readers the impression that what you say is important. You take it seriously. They should, too.
Save your creativity for your visuals. When it comes to the typeface you use, less really is more.
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