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I have been studying and working in graphic design for the past seven years. There are several factors that contribute to making a project or campaign successful and, in my opinion, choice of typeface is the most important.

Selecting the appropriate typeface is key. Each type font has a personality and an image… it is a communicator. The average person comes across an incredible number of different typefaces during the course of a day without realizing the unconscious emotional content that it projects. For example, if you receive a document from a law firm, you would undoubtedly have a completely different emotional response than you would if it were a birthday invitation. The document from the law firm will employ a typeface that conveys a sense of seriousness and importance, whereas type used for the birthday invitation will create a feeling of playfulness and fun.

Advertising is about communication and the relaying of a message, and a good part of that message is stimulated subliminally through the visual elements of the design. This is why it is important to choose an appropriate typeface. Consider a piece of mail that has “URGENT” stamped on it. The bold and blocky type makes you want to rip the mail open immediately. If the type was thin and whimsical, your concern is less likely to be aroused and may not open the envelope right away.

All typefaces are beautiful… in their own way.

What emotions do you feel from the following three typefaces?

1. Emotion12. Emotion23.Emotion3


Patricia DeGraw

Graphic Designer at Sanna Mattson MacLeod

Patricia on: Linkedin




  1. Judith on November 3, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Love this post. I had the pleasure and privilege of working with Lance Hidy, creator of Penumbra when he was art director at Harvard Business Review.

    Typeface is important. I had one boss who we considered a real buffoon — someone who walked straight out of Dilbert or “The Office” and not in a good way. He always used Comic sans MS which put a good face on his less than stellar management skills.

    A close friend of mine who does posters for different departments at Stanford always seems to find just the right font for her subject. Getting it right is truly an art.

    As for your three fonts, they evoke for me, left to right: elegance, humor, and assertiveness.

  2. kseverny on November 3, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    this is so true.
    1, comfort.
    2, sleepy.
    3, on the defensive

  3. Jennifer on November 6, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Great post Trish! Typography can mean many things to many people. It’s very important to convey ‘that feeling’ to your viewers through the use of typefaces.

    1. Romance
    2. Craziness, fun
    3. Authority