One font, two fonts, fifty fonts. Which font makes you want to click subscribe, contact or buy? I wanted to get to the bottom of this conundrum because I’ve seen design increase conversions on a website enough times that I respect good decisions in design deeply. Fonts and solid typography choices are part of what makes a design effective, and so I did a little research of my own and dug into what others have uncovered about making effective choices in font selection.
Which of these four fonts feels the most trustworthy to you? https://t.co/NoKUZv2bIc
— Tim Brown (@timbdesignmpls) February 23, 2016
How about you which of these 4 makes you want to dig in your pockets and hand me your cash?
Others who have researched this and their conclusions:
Errol Morris set a New York Times quiz set with different fonts to find out what people agreed with and disagreed with, and Baskerville – the third font above was said the one that most people agreed with the statement set in it “We live in an era of unprecedented safety.” Each of the statements had this statement and this is how people reacted to it.
So what font should I use for my website if I want to make sales?
Well maybe it gets a little more subtle than that. According to click laboratory moving from a 10 pixel size font to a 13 pixel size font improved pages per visit by 24% and pushed up the form conversion rate 133%. That’s intense. So the key take-away is readability, so base your font choices on this to help decrease friction in the buying process. Clearly, Baskerville is highly readable – Proxima Nova is highly readable (the winner of the trusted font contest above.)
Always go with fonts that have high x-heights, open apertures, and get more about what makes a great web font for readability and legibility here, another recent post we created: The Search for the Most Readable Copy on the Web.
The tone of what you are trying to say may be more appropriate for a more serious font, as the font Baskerville might suggest – classy serif fonts in this case are a nice option. Other mega classy serif fonts that will lend themselves to trustworthiness:
Fonts like Georgia and Freight Text Pro are great for highly readable body copy, and ‘Display’ fonts are better for headlines or testimonials.
IBM did an eye-tracking study rating comprehension levels and the serif font Georgia rated higher than the san-serif font Verdana, so score one for the serif fonts. But really it’s all about the tone of what you’re working on that will dictate the best choice for your situation. The difference wasn’t drastic enough to put sans-serif fonts down for the count. I will say this though, the pattern does indicate in the direction of Baskerville and Georgia-esque type fonts for situations where you really want to persuade and get the highest levels of comprehension from the studies I’ve seen.
The tone of what you’re trying to say might lend itself well to a friendly and open font, as the fairly spur of the moment poll result of “Proxima Nova” might suggest above. Other friendly, relaxed, but still professional san-serif fonts that will lend themselves to trustworthiness:
Is it kind of hilarious that fonts can have a serious effect on whether something is perceived as trustworthy?
Well, have you ever bought something based on sleek or elegant packaging? I would venture to guess design affects the perceived quality of a product or object, and typography is a giant aspect of how things come across as high end. Strong contrast, readability and the highly subjective ‘perceived respectability,’ affect the level of persuasiveness of a font.
A Marketing Land Study suggests:
- Use serif fonts when believability is critical to a conversion
- Use serif fonts when your subject matter is inherently serious
- Use serif font to make a claim that some people might find hard to believe
If these suggestions are to be believed, we should use simple fonts over highly decorative ones, limit the number of fonts on a page, pay attention to how your fonts play together and do A/B Testing on fonts when possible.
One final thing I’ll leave you with. In ex-Googler, Melissa Meyer’s three rules to making any App better she states these truths (we hold to be self evident):
- The two tap rule – Once you’re in the app it only takes two taps to do anything you want to do.
- The 98% rule which should be designed to easily do things that people want to do 98% percent of the time.
And for our purposes – The 5 Point Rule:
- Count every different font, font-size, and font color on the page. If a page goes beyond 5 points it needs a redesign.
The truth is we get very complex with our styles sometimes, and for the sake of simplicity and easy comprehension this diversity can play against us; so keep it simple.