I struggled sometimes to choose the right font and searched a long time for it but I had the feeling scrolling through Google Fonts made the decision harder and gave me a greater choice of fonts I like. The fact that there are the font categories with for example sans, sans-serif and script did not narrow down my choices.

It's clear that a font has to be readable and legible. But are there any other reasons one should choose a font besides readability, legibility and how it looks?

I thought about possible subconscious, psychological effects. Maybe a font makes the company more trustworthy to a user or another font makes the user click on an CTA button. Do anybody has some information about this topic?

  • 3
    There are quite many questions about choosing fonts at Graphic Design SE (graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/…). This question as such might be too broad to ask there, too. – locationunknown Feb 7 '17 at 10:19
  • Buy a book on fonts and you will be surprised at how thick it is. This is a huge topic and is not really suitable for this group. – SteveD Feb 8 '17 at 10:50

Yes, of course

The answer is YES, there is, and it is very easy to measure.

Use Comic Sans in your cool hipster barber shop site and measure. Then use something else like Times New Roman (nothing strange, just the fonts we have known for decades), measure again and see what happens. Let alone measuring against more appropriate, specialized fonts

Same goes with height, size, kerning, etc. However, the specifics will depend on each site/app and its design, the mood you want to transmit (hence, the subconscious effect). The possibilities are almost infinite, so in the end, it will depend on your testing (like anything UX)


If you want examples, since you mention CTA, take a look at this page, or this page. If you're looking for the more "psychological" side, then check this one, this one or this one

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Exactly, it affects every aspect of design. – Alvaro Feb 7 '17 at 17:21

There's a lot of knowledge out there about the impact font choice can have, ranging in objectivity and subjectivity. And like any sort of color study, you'll find a lot of variation... the key is to figure out what works best for your specific scenario. So in short, make an educated guess and test it.

An interesting example of a test was performed by Errol Morris on the New York Times — spoiler alert: he tested typefaces and their effect on the perception of truth.


Typically one would say that a serif font is more traditional and academic, therefore it receives more trust... but that depends greatly on what you're doing with it...

A traditional serif typeface might work really well for the New York Times because their history and journalistic rigor is a huge part of why they're a trusted news source. To contrast, a tech start-up like Uber might be better suited to use a sans-serif treatment because they want to exude modernity... a traditional serif typeface may make them feel older and less bleeding-edge, which is contrary to their brand tenets.

I think before you continue seeking guidance with your question you need to first determine what your goals are in terms of visual language for your site, and then seek research/advice specific to those goals.

If you're feeling like you have too many options, start with the most common typefaces available (http://www.cssfontstack.com/) before you decide to subject your users to additional resources (additional bandwidth adds up!).

| improve this answer | |

You appear to be suffering from 'choice paralysis'.

There are plenty of places on the internet to find out about the psychological effects of reading different fonts out there just put "Font Psychology" into your search engine.

| improve this answer | |
  • I searched for "Font Psychology" but found mostly attributes for the font categories and this was not what I wanted. For example the font Geo (fonts.google.com/specimen/Geo) is sans-serif. Sans-serif stands for stability and is modern and clean. For me Geo is neither of this attributes. I hope you can understand my problem with these few categories and its huge amount of different fonts in each. – stJando Feb 7 '17 at 10:44
  • Personally, I would classify Geo as a display font rather than a sans-serif - It's clearly been designed for posters, book covers and other 'art' works rather than for use in bulk texts. However, I also disagree with your assessment. From the 'about' text: "Geo is a simple geometric typeface in the mould of some of the experimental faces designed during the 1920s by well-known modernists such as Theo van Doesberg and Herbert Bayer." - Modernist and simple - just not a very good font for large amounts of text. – Andrew Martin Feb 7 '17 at 11:47

The infographic in this article is pretty good: http://www.biggroup.co.uk/en/blog/2015/feb/psychology-of-typography

It is a matter of sticking to the main goals of a brand. Finding out how these abstract concepts translates into font shapes is sometimes just a designer's hunch.

Since I believe there is a collective association of shapes and feelings, I find it helpful to ask others what do they think about a font and see if it matches my own associations.

| improve this answer | |

"Font Psychology" is likely to be similar to "Colour Psychology" in that there is no one answer, most colour psychology studies differ in their results.

Colours tend to mean different things in different cultures and even people within those cultures. For example Black is linked with mourning in the UK however in Egypt Yellow is linked with mourning.

The same will be true of fonts, depending on the individuals life experiences etc

Fonts typically grow to "stand for something" only through association with brands or institutions and this would only ever extend as far as the reach of those brands or institutions.

Also be aware that the vast majority of people don't even notice or care which font is used, from my own experience of designing 1000s of adverts for a newspaper and clients choosing horrible fonts, but still getting responses from those adverts.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.