The Font You Choose Can Help or Hurt Your Message

Choose the Right Font to Create the Persona You Want

Before the days of desktop publishing, most of us didn’t really think about which font to use when we were creating a document or presentation. That was an area best left to the graphic designers trained in the art of professional typography. Then PageMaker 1.0, the first mass-market desktop publishing software hit the market, with a full menu of tasteful and tasteless fonts for anyone to simply click and apply. The rest, as they say, is history.

Nowadays anyone in PageMaker, InDesign, PowerPoint, MS Word or any web design software can experiment with a wild assortment of fonts. This is not necessarily always a good thing. How many of us have tried to read an entire document that is typed in all capital letters? Or tried to decipher a Powerpoint presentation in which all the slide titles were formatted with drop shadows that made them look blurry, rather than flashy?

Your font choice says a lot about you. Sure, you can use it to create you own persona, but is that always the right thing to do? You may like Comic Sans or Bauhaus 93, but is it the best choice for your document?

Not only does your font choice convey something about you personally, but it also alludes to whether you’re in touch with the expectations of your audience, a crucial point when you’re trying to persuade them to trust you, buy your product or believe in your expertise. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget about that or realize how important this simple aspect of communication really is.

For a quick read on the importance of choosing the right font for your communications, read this recent blog post I came across by Seth Godin: “Remind you of anything? Simple typography for non-professionals.” It’s a short post that quickly drives home the impact of choosing the wrong fonts.

The bottom line if you don’t have time to read Seth’s blog? If your reader is more focused on your choice of font than on what you are trying to convey, you’ve probably picked the wrong font. If you’re not sure what to choose, keep it simple. Look at other communication pieces put out by peers in your industry or market niche for guidance.

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