Monday, November 5, 2012

Want more attention? Change your font!

I had no idea what would be the subject for today until I stumbled upon this article. It explains so much of what I intuitively have been doing for my clients to make them immensely successful. 

University of Illinois psychology professor Jesse Preston, right,
and graduate student Ivan Hernandez
Photo credit: L. Brian Stauffer

"We showed that if we can slow people down, if we can make them stop relying on their gut reaction – that feeling that they already know what something says – it can make them more moderate; it can have them start doubting their initial beliefs and start seeing the other side of the argument a little bit more," Hernandez said.
Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

New research, reported in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. Study shows how subtle manipulations which affect how people absorb information can reduce political polarization.

Liberals and conservatives who are polarized on certain politically charged subjects become more moderate when reading political arguments in a difficult-to-read font, researchers report in a new study. This is also true in mock trials where evidence is presented in a difficult-to-read font.
"When your mind thinks it’s seeing something new it gives it full scrutiny and isn’t as biased. But when understanding of the knowledge comes easily it gets pre-sorted into a category with a label - and that label is what you called it before." —
As a graphic designer, I think about how certain fonts emotionally impact the viewer. Fonts can be serious, sweet, academic, hipster, casual, or scary. I create corporate marketing brands, logos, and documents that are used to sway the viewer. I have been known to create U.S. Treasury financial annual Operating Plans with sweet-looking (storybook) fonts - not your typical financial document with 12 point Times Roman. The viewers found them engaging, inspiring, and actually were compelled to read them as opposed to glance through them because they assumed nothing had changed since last year's Operational Plan... I find this article fascinating and I understand intuitively how it is true.

I have found that by composing dry, technical information into an engaging visual, with images, videos, illustrations, as well as by using unconventional fonts, the viewer is not inclined to dismiss the information at first glance as something he/she has already seen, but instead will take time to study the information to learn what is new. 

This concept explains why fashion exists and why we have a need for fashion - new fashions break status quo thinking, encourage us to reinvent ourselves.

Fashion is in the sky, in the street, 
fashion has to do with ideas, 
the way we live, what is happening. 
— Coco Chanel

I have always observed fashion trends in art, clothes, architecture, and technology. I like to discover what is "in" and who is wearing, or using, it. I can better understand a culture or town or organization by what the locals wear, how they tend their home gardens, and especially by the shop window displays. I can tell if the locals are well-educated and well-travelled, or if their expectations are limited. I am a window shopper on many levels. I see everything, and I think about it... Most people where I work don't put much effort into how they dress, they wear very conservative casual attire, mostly in blues and browns. Recently, an employee dressed flamboyantly in bright colors and patterns and, days later, the employee quit. I have no idea what transpired - but I find it interesting... very much so...

Yesterday, I ventured to Los Gatos to do my culturista research. I found the fashion in Los Gatos to be multi-cultural, artsy, sophisticated and expensive:

Los Gatos Anthropologie
Los Gatos Bridal Boutique
The home furnishing stores' window displays in Los Gatos appeal to well-read, movie buffs - the window displays have tables stacked up with books and videos:
Lulu Pom Home Furnishing's window display
Toy stores in Los Gatos appeal to grandparents' taste:
Los Gatos Toy Soldier Store
And, of course, there is Fleur de Cocoa, my favorite authentically French pastry shop:
Coffee and an Apple Charlotte at Fleur de Cocoa
Old Town Los Gatos 
Low crime, good schools, Los Gatos is one
of my favorite places to live or visit.
Los Gatos is known as the "Winners' Circle" in Silicon Valley since the tech boom of the 1980s. The Los Gatos residents are affluent, well educated, well travelled, and have good taste.

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