Are You Sending the Right Message? – Typography Part 1

by Content Solutions on August 16, 2010

I’ve recently found myself avidly studying billboards and signs as I drive around town. Some signs I barely glance at, others make me cringe, and others may pique my interest in the place or product. What causes this? In this series, I’m going to look at how choosing the right typography, or layout of letters, can send the right or wrong message.

All day long we are bombarded by words in print and whether you realize it or not, you always have an emotional response to the type.  When creating any kind of printed message there are three main aspects to consider: the type of product or business, the intended audience, and the ease of reading. Let’s first look at the type of product or business.

What are you selling?

Take a look at the picture to the left. Which bottle of wine would you rather purchase, not knowing anything about them? The type of letters can influence some preconceived notions we already have about products. For instance, a wine can come in many vintages, from cheap to very expensive. If you were going for a cheaper wine, you might pick the one on the left. A person looking for something more expensive may pick the one on the right. Why? The type conveys a sense of luxury on the bottle on the right, while the one on the left tells more of a modern, cheap vintage, no matter that the bottles say the same year.

Another good example of this may be shown on a sign for a restaurant. Let’s say you want to grab a quick lunch on a business trip in an unfamiliar city. You are confronted by two local businesses that seem to sell the same product: hamburgers. Looking only at the type, which place would gain your business?

Looking at the first typeface, the letters are a serif font that portray a classical style, so this may be a more upscale establishment. On the other hand, the second typeface shows a thick sans serif font that shows heartiness for the meal waiting. Depending upon your tastes, you may choose one over the other.  It’s the typeface on the sign that gives you an initial impression to help you make this decision.

Strong company or fly-by night?

Here’s an example of a company in a business that requires much professionalism, using the wrong type to advertise. This first plaque would have customers running before they enter the door. Wouldn’t you? That playful type does not look at all like a respectable law firm, but rather a shyster trying to take your money.

Now this is more like it. A law firm should exude professionalism and trustworthiness. A strong type that conveys permanence and good business would affirm that for customers. Despite the name of the company, the typeface can make or break the impression given to potential clients.

Not sure what the best typeface for your company or business would be? We are always here to help. We can take your ideas and make them concrete, helping you send just the right message to your potential customers or clients.

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