What Your Font Says About You

There was a time when companies kept graphologists on staff to analyze candidates’ handwriting. Today, many employers are looking at your choice of typefaces to determine your character and suitability for a job. 

So what does your choice of font say about you? A lot more than you think; a recent study by researchers at Wichita State University has revealed that your typeface can reflect your personality type, mood, and attitude. Find out what your favourite font says about you—and when it's appropriate to use it. 


Serif Fonts

These are the fonts with rounded edges on the letters, or extra strokes added to the top and bottom of each character. These details are called ‘serifs’.

  • Times New Roman: Stable, polite, conformist, mature, formal, and practical, TNR is your best bet for business and technical documents, Web text, online news and tests, and spreadsheets. Your all-business font of choice.
  • Monospaced fonts:  Also known as fixed-width, all the characters of this typeface take up the same amount of horizontal width.
  • Courier New: Poor Courier—study respondents deemed it rigid, sad, dull, unattractive, plain, coarse, and masculine, in addition to conformist and mature. You may want to try it for cold, unemotional ‘Dear John’ letters, if at all.


Sans Serif Fonts

These are the typefaces without the embellishments that distinguish serif typefaces—sans means without in French.

  • Arial: Stable and conformist like TNR, this font was also judged unimaginative by those surveyed. Best for spreadsheets, Web headlines, and PowerPoint presentations—so if you’re planning on rocking the company boat at your next meeting, this font could give your ideas authority.
  • Verdana:  Dull, according to respondents. Best for online tests, math documents, computer programming, spreadsheets and PowerPoint. Oh, and instant messaging—we’re not sure why you’d want to appear dull in a text message, but it was ranked second for this purpose.
  • Scripted/fun fonts: Typefaces with a personal, informal touch, designed to resemble calligraphy or handwriting.
  • Comic Sans: The wacky uncle of the font family, subjects described this one as youthful, casual, and passive. Save it for Web graphics, documents aimed at kids, and digital scrapbooking. A fun choice for invitations to kids’ parties.
  • Gigi:  Meet the sex kitten of the typeface universe. Flexible, creative, happy, exciting, attractive, elegant, cuddly, and feminine—these were the adjectives associated with this ornate sans serif font. Also, unstable, rebellious, youthful, casual, passive, and impractical, making Gigi perhaps the most complex typeface of them all. Judged suitable for E-greetings and nothing else, so approach this font with caution.
  • Display or modern fonts: Dramatic, striking fonts, including the grotesque style.
  • Impact: Here’s another font that you may want to use sparingly if at all: the assertive, rigid, rude, sad, unattractive, plain, coarse and masculine Impact. Deemed appropriate for Web headlines only (presumably the scary ones), this typeface is best avoided.

 

The final word on fonts? Feel free to play around with your personal correspondence, but stick to the classics like Times New Roman and Arial, particularly at work. No one wants to read a legal brief in curly, cuddly Gigi.

Rebecca Schwartz for divine.ca

For great office-life articles and career tips, visit divine.ca — Canada's Online Women's Magazine.


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