What’s in a font?

What we're readingWhether you’re creating public legal education and information (PLE) materials, or designing a poster to promote an event, it’s important to choose a font that is readable for your audience. But did you know your choice of font could also affect how credible your content seems?

One article describes several research studies which aimed to test whether fonts and related variables (such as line spacing) influence people’s decisions about the credibility of information in print. The studies suggest that information presented in easy-to-read print is perceived as more believable – likely because easy-to-read print allows readers to process information more fluently.

Another study aimed to test “the effect of typefaces on credulity” by posting an online newspaper article displayed randomly in one of six fonts. Readers were then asked to answer a poll about whether they believed one assertion in the article. The creator of that study concluded:

"Truth is not typeface dependent, but a typeface can subtly influence us to believe that a sentence is true. Could it swing an election? Induce us to buy a new dinette set? Change some of our most deeply held and cherished beliefs?"

So, it’s possible that your choice of font for PLE materials can signal to your audience that the information you’re sharing is credible and easy to absorb. Click on the image below to view an excerpt from the Better Legal Information Handbook about font choice and line spacing.


Of course, your choice of font will also affect how visually accessible your printed or online PLE materials are. We’ve touched upon this in a previous blog post, and we’ll be addressing it in more detail in next week’s blog post. Stay tuned!

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