The Deal with Fonts

Talk to any creative director or art director in the world and they will provide you with a litany of under appreciated design elements: from the proper use of negative space to the importance of adding appropriate texture. However, there is probably no element of design as under appreciated as font design. This is particularly true in the world of professional services where the major questions in font design usually boil down to whether your firm’s Senior Partner prefers Times New Roman or Calibri (The Beatles and The Stones of typography).

However, font design goes far beyond these two classic standbys and, what is more, your typographic choice can have a dramatic effect on how people interact with your brand.

Baskerville: King of Fonts

In 2012 Errol Morris of the New York Times conducted an experiment on the paper’s unsuspecting readers. Essentially, Errol had the reader’s rate the believability of a piece of text that was presented to them in a particular font. The results were intriguing as certain fonts had a statistically significant correlation with believability. Specifically, Baskerville was indicated by the data to be the most trustworthy font demolishing the universally ridiculed Comic Sans and edging out other near identical fonts.

Notably, Morris’s experiment reflects the results of an earlier quasi-experiment conducted by student Phil Renaud who wrote 52 essays for his classes over 6 years in three different fonts: Trebuchet MS, Times New Roman, and Georgia. At the end of his period of study, Morris concluded that his Georgia papers were given a higher grade far more commonly than the papers he handed in in Trebuchet and Times.

Which begs the question, is it time to change the font of your reporting letters from Times New Roman to Baskerville or Georgia?

Fonts are Complicated

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thousands of fonts available for download, we suggest taking some time out of your day to check out the amazing resources This website is the brainchild of the extremely talented Matthew Butterick, a Los Angeles based attorney and Harvard educated typographer.

If you are interested in how to make your branding pop through font design, feel free to contact Skunkworks Creative Group.


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