I’ve always had an interest in Typography and often talk to the designers I meet about why they’ve chosen a certain font, so I was very keen to hear Sarah Hyndman’s talk called ‘Think Outside the Font: How Typefaces Influence’.
In her talk, Sarah described font as a carrier of words, and talked about how good type gives the illusion of being invisible. Something that really resonated with me was how a typeface can trigger emotions in us. For example, seeing a typeface that was used on a sweet wrapper from your childhood can evoke a feeling of nostalgia – our subconscious brain absorbs a lot from typefaces. We already know that design in general evokes emotion but it was interesting to think about how typeface alone can do this.
Sarah then went on to explore whether different typefaces can have different personalities. To quantify this, she has done an online font census which you can check out here. In the surgery Sarah is particularly interested in knowing how non-designers describe a font in comparison to designers. The words used to describe the typeface are often quite different, for example when exploring the font Bauhaus designers thought of architecture, art school, beginning of modernism; non-designers used words like silly, a clown and friendly.
Sarah used some very interesting examples to illustrate her point such as which typeface would you date:
In summary I think Sarah really got the audience thinking about how important typography is and how a designer should really think about the font they are using and the response that font will evoke in a user/reader. I really loved this talk and will definitely be questioning the designers I meet on their font choices a bit more now!
If you’re interested, you can read more about Sarah and her work here.