Survey of Psychological Impact of Fonts & Designing Fonts

So I read a very introductory intro to fonts (serif, sans serif, script , display).

The article I read was brief about the psychological impact of fonts.

I was more interested in designing fonts with a particular goal in mind : for example what type face to use if I wished to communicate excerpts from holy scripture? what about the typeface says “this is holy text”?

What fonts communicate peace? which fonts communicate confidence? which fonts usher the reader to read like the wind? which type face may impede the reader and hence to avoid? which type face would make the reader feel smooth and relaxed as if floating down a river or as light as a cloud?

I came across this after reading a bio of Jesus written in Garamond and the description of the font.

p.s. there is a “serious” option on posts which I wish every forum had. My inquiry is serious and I appreciate informative and relevant responses please.

When designers choose fonts, it’s based on in-depth knowledge of a specific client and what will best serve their needs.

So this information may help you more. https://getflywheel.com/layout/psychology-of-typography/

Blackletter …

Good designers always choose typefaces that assist in evoking desired emotional responses that support the tone of the subject matter.

Many new designers, however, go overboard in doing this by using typefaces that draw attention to themselves and that, inadvertently, detract from the message. It’s usually best to choose faces that aren’t necessarily noticed, but subtly do their jobs.

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Well put B. I remember when i was student, some 200 years ago now - and rummaging for the perfect novelty font for the job. A pizzeria business card should have a type face with melted cheese on top, and let’s use a terribly offense ‘ninja-like’ typeface for a Chinese restaurant. (ok, maybe i wasn’t THAT bad).

Take Grfk’s Blackletter for example - does it look like a holy scripture? Yes. Can your client read a body of type in this typeface? No.

A simple Frutiger grotesque typeface like Univers has a simple elegance that could work. Maybe use an initial/Drop-cap in the Blackletter, nice and large to start the piece, but then move to something simple and legible.

new designers, however, go overboard in doing this by using typefaces that draw attention to themselves and that, inadvertently, detract from the message. It’s usually best to choose faces that aren’t necessarily noticed, but subtly do their jobs.

I guess this goes without saying that the design ought not to be so garish that it distracts from the content (that is a function of the font) but what I am asking for is the literature on how shape translates to subtle promotion (of readability or fluidity or emotion)

It doesn’t really go without saying because its a common mistake. Also, the typeface doesn’t need to be garish for the designer to stumble into this pitfall — inappropriate type can just as easily be chosen for reasons that seem superficially logical but lack insight into things like cultural and demographic contexts.

You might be looking for objective research on on something that is primarily subjective. This isn’t a hot area for scientific enquiry, but there has been some — for example: http://japr.or.kr/journal/article.php?code=25772. Picking the right typeface is an exercise in aesthetics and informal psychology — all the rules are fuzzy, subject to change over time and evolve in ways that contradict and overwrite previously established norms. It’s much like the generational shifts in music that occur.

If you do a Google search on “font psychology” or the “psychology of typography” you’ll find a bunch of informal opinions on the subject that might add some insight into what you’re after, but I’d take it all with just a grain of salt. More formal research into the subject isn’t nearly as easy to find.

There are lots of books on typography, but again, they tend to deal with the subject matter from historical, mechanical and aesthetic perspectives.

Wrong.

https://www.type-together.com/givry

And to the OP’s comment ‘read like the wind’ … when talking about Jesus, about Peace … really want to ‘read like the wind’? No. Time should be FORCED upon the reader. Not forced in body volume, but rather in rhythm of the words being set with blackletter. Cadence if you will.

The only psychological impact of fonts and designing fonts are those that the designer is currently under. There’s great Humanist, Sans-Serif, Serif, Blackletter etc., etc., faces being designed everyday all the time.

And to the OP’s comment ‘read like the wind’ … when talking about Jesus, about Peace … really want to ‘read like the wind’? No. Time should be FORCED upon the reader.

Pardon me, but perhaps you are misunderstanding and mixing several different notions:

  1. the sentence at the end which talks about Jesus only talks about where I learned about how “garamond” font communicates fluidity (mentioned at the end of the book) it has nothing to do with any aspiration asking the reader to read like the wind with regards to Jesus.
  2. the question about readability and easy reading was asked prior to the line about Jesus. It was just a list of psychological states or promptings that the font wished to communicate.

Please, I don’t want to get political or religious or be accused of blasphemy etc. this was just a question with request for serious , relevant , supportive, constructive responses. If this is the wrong forum and it is becoming increasingly obvious that it is perhaps so, please direct me to the right forum.

Thank you.

Respectfully and sincerely,

You’re in the right forum … my bad.

I was only making a point on the psychology of using blackletter for religious content. I feel that there is a great waste of opportunity when dumbing down to only sans-serif or serif. Blackletter as my link apply demonstrates, is just as valid … the psychological impact has a deeper meaning if by nothing more than the heaviness of the letter shapes. A calligraphy face would be next …and then a humanist face.

To design a font most people start off with a mono-thick stroke. Add to that the influence of default faces for mobile devices and it becomes readily apparent that society on the whole is suffering a psychological setback And on a broader issue … cursive writting is no longer being taught in a good chuck of public schools.

You’re in the right forum. Besides images … as in pictograms (don’t even get me started on emojis!!!) …typography is a very real player in how a society interacts and on which level that interaction occurs.

This is a very important point, B and cannot be emphasised enough when making a font choice, or an image choice for that matter.

It is annoying to witness a multicultural or multiethnic context being represented in a monolithic manner because of ignorance, laziness and an unquestioning acceptance of a prevalent stereotype. This not only perpetuates that damaging stereotype, but also demonstrates a callous disrespect towards the said culture.

Market forces might feel it’s justified, but at the end of the day, is that what we’d like to be about? The market?

It is annoying to witness a multicultural or multiethnic context being represented in a monolithic manner because of ignorance, laziness and an unquestioning acceptance of a prevalent stereotype. This not only perpetuates that damaging stereotype, but also demonstrates a callous disrespect towards the said culture.

Please , if I could edit my original post I would have specifically asked that people from Ind-- & Afr-c- kindly do not drag the responses (aesthetics) into politics. This was implicitly aimed at a western, white, christian audience (or judeo - christian audience or , judeo-christo-islamic audience ).

I personally wish the best for all be it fairness of spirit or body but I am oft reminded that the perhaps the greatest advocates of non-freedom were the un-free , the greatest advocates of h.e.double hockey sticks are seemingly the denizens of it and the greatest advocate of non-beauty are oft the non-beautiful.

You might have started this thread, but you can’t place conditions on how people choose to participate. That’s not how this forum works.

There are other forums more specifically devoted to typography, and you might get responses more to your liking from them. TypeDrawers.com, Typophile.com and Typography.Guru come to mind.

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I don’t even know where to begin to respond to this. What you say is disturbing and offensive on so many levels.

First, it astounds me that a student of design thinks that aesthetics and politics are or should be kept separate from each other. What is aesthetics if not political? How can you study or survey any psychological impact without taking into account where people come from, what their context or background or history is, what peace, confidence, relaxation etc. mean to them as a community and/or individually? Any and all talk surrounding these issues is political and sociopolitical, whether you like it or not.

Second, I don’t know where you are from, but I’m sure your country does not consist of just whites and Christians and Jews and Muslims. There are other races too and other faiths too (not to mention agnosticism, atheism and humanism).

Third, I’m not sure if eliminating the vowels from India and Africa is supposed to be some sort of slight. I’m just going assume that you had keyboard trouble when you were typing out those names.

Fourth, this is a public forum. It is not just for white people or Christians or whoever else you might be interested in hearing from. It is also not a place for people who are impolite or disrespectful towards others, and no-one gets to decide what I or others on this forum can and cannot speak about.

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@ arthurwhite, I dug through the archive of my fellow typophile dot com community and found this thread from 2004:

http://www.typophile.com/node/2635

Hope that helps some.

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What you say is disturbing and offensive on so many levels.

I would like to apologize to the Most High God if I have in any way discomfited His creation. My intent was to avoid the politics around design. My intent was also to point out that asking for a multi-polar world may result in peoples losing out on the blessings, joy, beauty, love, wealth and goodness in the blessed and developed parts of the world.

What is aesthetics if not political

It is political (everything is) but my original question was intended to stay on topic and may the Most High God rescue us and bless us equally, ideally, identically so all are prosperous, wealthy, free, beautiful, fair and all may love one another. I adhere to and ascribe to the Judeo-Christo-Islamic ideal of beauty which is European, white and entirely light . I wish that for all peoples because that is the goodness I wish for myself. If you are right then may I embrace what is right and if someone else is right then let us embrace what is right . But above it all let us wish for all what we wish for ourselves : the highest beauty, love, prosperity, kindness, goodness. Only light and no darkness for that is God (He is light and there is no darkness in Him- as per the Bible ).

Blessings and peace.

Excuse me? Where did you get this drivel from?

Mr White: I strongly suggest you refrain from dragging your personal beliefs and assumptions into discussions about design. Topic closed.

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