The goal of any piece of internal communications writing is to get the audience to read, understand, care and act. Could your font really make a difference?
In our digital age, where information is available – and expected – in an instant, holding our audience’s ever-shortening attention span is a constant challenge.
There are many ways to do this. Producing interesting content is the main one, obviously, along with giving your reader what they want and need, in the clearest and most concise way possible. And then there’s typography…
We all have a favourite font. We do, right? No one really chooses Comic Sans! If fonts weren’t important, we wouldn’t labour over choosing them for our clients’ publications. That’s because we think – in fact know – that they affect how we’re perceived. So we select them carefully.
Across the two main font types, serif and sans, there are subtle but important differences. Serif letters have small lines, or flicks, tailing from their edges (think Times New Roman) and sans letter structures are simple sticks and curves without the serifs (think Arial).
Structured and simple
The general belief has been that serif connects letters elegantly, which encourages the words to flow smoothly, lending itself naturally to longer passages of text in books and magazines.
Sans, meanwhile, is structured and simple. It makes more of an impact and is therefore suited to shorter passages of text, like titles and online articles. This Serif vs Sans infographic demonstrates the relationship between the two very nicely.
But we know, from our experience, that it isn’t as simple as that. You won’t have to look too far before you find a magazine that uses sans, or a website that uses serif.
Either way, each has their advantages and disadvantages. It could come down to colours, contrasts, house style, tradition or simply personal preference.
It could even be worth A/B testing your font by showing a group of people the same text, one in serif, one in sans, and noting which one they prefer. We leave no stone unturned in our quest to make everything as appealing, entertaining and readable as possible!