Reflections | Why Fonts Matter

Why Fonts Matter by Sarah Hyndman

The TEDTalk, Why Fonts Matter, conducted by Sarah Hyndman discusses the importance of typography in areas such as design and advertising. As a professional graphic designer herself, she shares her opinions on why typography has the ability to alter aspects of everyday life.

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Fonts used for Maltesers, a brand of chocolate (my favourite brand of chocolate if you want to be specific)

One of the points that she brought up that I agreed with was typography’s ability to influence opinions and establish moods and emotions. An example she used to reinforce this point was the labels of candy bars, where fonts with rounded edges and brighter colours seem to make the candy more appetising, or have an overall sweeter taste. I agree with her stance on this, where certain elements of a typeface can alter the overall emotion and mood of the design piece. In my opinion, because of these “elements” that we identify with, we would typically associate them with certain moods (examples being jagged, straight lines with something angry and serious, or curved lines being more gentle or sorrowful). Therefore, fonts matter in this case as designers are able to use typography as a medium to convey a certain mood to the intended viewers.

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Iconic Coca-Cola font

Another point that she brought up was typography’s purpose in telling a story. She further reiterates this point by bringing in examples of well-known brands, and fonts used in movie posters. Similar to the earlier points she mentioned about fonts’ abilities to convey certain moods and emotions, the type of fonts used in design such as logos or title fonts have the ability to encompass a very brief overview. For example, she talked about Coca Cola and how it’s ribbon-like font conveys the overall aesthetic of America in the 50s, with its hot summers and Grease-like lifestyle.

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Font for Ex Machina, a scifi movie
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Fonts used for A Nightmare on Elm Street, a horror movie
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Fonts used for the upcoming Bad Times at the El Royale, a neo-noir movie

In my opinion, the ability that typography has in conveying a story is important; it shapes a brand and conveys a certain mood or aesthetic without the use of images. Typography, therefore, is important as it is capable of pushing a brand forward, maybe even allowing it to be widely-recognised just by its font alone.

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