How can typography influence the decision of a consumer?

Don't you ever wonder about certain type-related topics and wish you could ask the experts?

Well, we do most of the time, and that is exactly what we did! BoldQuestions is a series where we try to tackle doubts, questions, and curiosities related to typography and typeface design. 

We had the honor/luck/pleasure of asking this first Bold Question to Matteo Bologna. He is the founding partner behind mucca, a studio specialized in branding and interactive design that has collaborated with great brands such as Victoria Secret, Whole Foods Market, AIGA, Wired Magazine, and many more. Matteo is also president of the Type Directors Club, so it is safe to say he knows his stuff.

 Image via mucca.com

Image via mucca.com

I have been a fan of his work for quite a while now, so I was pretty happy when I got the chance to chat with him and ask him this Bold Question:

Q: How can typography influence the decision of a consumer?

We know typography helps communicate a certain personality for a brand or product, but can it really be a deal maker when it comes to actually consuming a certain brand?

With all the fuzz going on about politics right now, Obama's 2008 campaign comes to my mind:  Besides a lot of good marketing, the campaign wouldn't had been the same if they had used something like Papyrus. But let's not go that far, what if he had used Proxima Nova? Another sans-serif with similar characteristics.Typography played such an important role on his campaign that it makes me wonder. In other words: Do you believe there is a perfect font that will contribute to the accomplishing of a certain goal? 


A: Thinking that Gotham made Obama president is a little too much of a overstatement. It would have given different results if the whole campaign was typeset with Papyrus? Maybe not, or maybe it would have helped him to become the first pharaoh of the US.

My personal opinion is that typography has mostly a subliminal effect on the reader. And that effect has to do mostly with the reader's cultural history. For sure a graphic designer will be able to read more signs into a word or a phrase set with a particular font versus a monk who has been raised in a convent unexposed to our world. 

We are all exposed to fonts since our childhood therefore we are enabled to read the non-explicit meanings of typography.

Because we live in a symbolic word, every word set on a typeface will have extra messages that will reach our semantic brain regardless if we are willing or not to get past the meaning of the word itself. In a certain way we are fucked because even if we set everything with Arial or Helvetica which are considered “neutral" fonts the fact that the font itself is “neutral” already gives the extra flavor to the word.

So, to answer to your question I would say that our job as designers is to pick this extra messages to accomplish our goals and the right font will be the one who carries our desired meanings. 

What do you think?

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