Why Fonts Matter

Every time I see the sign for Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon I feel joy. Not only is it one of my absolute favorite places to go today, it also reminds me of when I was a child. I grew up in the 90s when going to bookstores was common and ebooks didn’t exist yet. Today that isn’t so normal. However, Powell’s lives on.

But this post is about font.

The font used of Powell’s sign tell us a lot about the business. It tells us Powell’s has been around for a while, 45 years to be exact, and that they view themselves simply. The font chosen is one that relays information but, doesn’t overwhelm the reader with gimmicks, because they don’t need gimmicks, they’re established. The use of a subhead gives them a movie like feel, warm, inviting and nostalgic.

All of this from one sign.

Font is important, for several reasons. Font tells your customers who you are and what you value. They can take you back to a certain time period in your life or in history. They can can manipulate emotion and they are a visual reminder of your organization, for better or worse.


Photo courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

According to Ellie Martin, co-founder of Startup Change group, “Typeface, color, weight and point size are not just aesthetic factors. They make deep-seated psychological impressions on how people read, comprehend and judge your content.”

A great example of this comes from Google. Not only is it one of the most trusted brands today, it is also one of the most recognizable.

Embed from Getty Images


A large reason for this comes from its typeface. Not only does Google use the same font for all its products, it also uses the same color, thickness and spacing.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images


Google doesn’t just do this for their products. They also use these guidelines for any presentations made about the company.

Embed from Getty Images


In return for this consistency, users trust Google. According to expandingramblings.com Google controls 75 percent of the market share for all searches and performs on average 100 billion searches a month.

Font matters. Trust me.


Cover photo courtesy of flickr.com



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