Monotype research shows font choice can increase positive consumer response by up to 13%

“This study tested our biggest assumptions about consumers’ emotional response to type and confirmed everything the wider design community has believed about type for decades – that it measurably affects recognition, consumer trust and brand recall,” said James Fooks-Bale, Senior Brand Manager of Monotype. “Even in the absence of color, logo, movement or any other traditional element of visual identity, typography plays a crucial role in conveying trust, sincerity and reliability. brand marketers, agencies and creatives need to take note.”

For the study, Monotype and Neurones interviewed 400 people using three types of stimuli: single words, a sentence using those words, and a sentence with the words including a mark. Each of them consisted of three typefaces – FS Jack, a humanist sans; Gilroy, a geometric sans; and Cotford, a languid serif. Although these types resemble the brands that consumers have seen, they were not associated with actual brands to avoid pre-existing associations. Respondents rated the combinations using a range of emotional measures, such as how sincere, rememberable, trustworthy, or confident they were.

Consumer Research Results:

The type makes the brand message memorable

  • Defining “quality” in Cotford Display Regular resulted in a 13% increase in user judgment of relevance, a 10% increase in recall and a 9% increase in reliability.
    • The Cotford wheelbase has long been associated with the world of fashion and luxury, meaning people’s subconscious reaction is driven by years of cultural association.
    • Research has shown that Cotford Display Regular boosted the positive perception of the word ‘quality’.
  • FS Jack Regular created a 9%, 7%, and 3% increase in how a single word is perceived as innovative, prominent, and unique.
    • Although it is a sans serif, FS Jack Regular has a double story “a” and “g”, which is considered a more humanistic way of constructing letters, potentially impacting response from consumers to typeface.
    • The results support the hypothesis that letters closer to calligraphy can elicit a deeper instinctive emotional response.

The type reassures consumers

  • FS Jack Regular increased people’s confidence by up to 12%.
    • When defining “trust” in FS Jack Regular, research has shown significant increases in the level of sincerity and honesty that respondents attribute to the word.
    • This again demonstrates how a font that is heavily grounded in calligraphy can elicit an immediate sense of confidence in the reader.
  • Gilroy Bold, which is used by a long list of mainstream brands, showed a 5% increase in how honest respondents thought a slogan was. The results underscore that geometric sans have become a visual shortcut for reliability and success.

Type gives brands a competitive edge

  • A tagline in Gilroy Bold showed a 12% increase in awareness and a 5% increase in competitor awareness.
    • Despite the prevalence of geometric sans serifs, respondents still felt that Gilroy Bold was a more prominent slogan.
    • The statements set in the typeface have followed increases in competition, uniqueness, and innovation.
    • The bold weight is likely to be a contributing factor, as well as the prevalence of this typeface style, especially in the tech and startup worlds.

The report presents several key findings, and the authors also point out that the potential for uncovering more through sentiment testing is vast, and that future research will explore even more of the emotional impact of type.

“This study shows that we have an emotional relationship with the typeface and that our brain reacts significantly to the shape of the letters. The results of this study far exceed the typical 0-5% positive response to the typeface” , commented Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy, founder and CEO of Neurones. “The importance of branding has never been more evident, but these responses are typically unconscious, making them difficult to measure with traditional means. Here, the ability of applied neuroscience to uncover cognitive responses that help brands and creatives create high impact messages and experiences.

“Our work with Neurons reinforces the powerful effect of type on people. The simple shapes of a letter – which many take for granted – can trigger a cognitive and emotional response, leading to a subconscious judgment about honesty, sincerity or innovation of a brand,” added Phil Garnham, senior type director at Monotype. “On the other hand, brands that take typography for granted and use the wrong typeface risk alienating their customers, negatively impacting bottom line.”

On May 24 to 13:00 BST and May 25 to 1 p.m. EST, Monotype will host a webinar detailing the data and analysis. Participating expert panelists will be mike stormChief Operating Officer, Neurons; James Fooks-Bale, Senior Brand Manager, Monotype; and Phil Garnham, Senior Director of Creative Typography, Monotype. To register, go to: https://www.monotype.com/resources/webinars/neurons.

To access the full study, “Why Fonts Make Us Feel”, please visit: https://www.monotype.com/neurons.

About Monotype
Monotype creates brands that matter by type, technology and expertise. The company partners with leading foundries to provide the largest inventory of high-quality typefaces in the world. Further information is available at www.monotype.com.

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James C. Tibbs