The psychology of the keyboard

A new study entitled ‘The Psychology of Fonts’, commissioned by Lexmark and written by psychologist Dr. Aric Sigman, explains how computer typefaces can reveal secrets of your personality and influence what the reader thinks about you. So be careful before you automatically use the default font on your computer, you could be sending out all the wrong messages.

So what does your font say about you?

Don’t use Courier unless you want to look like a real nerd. It’s a favourite for librarians and data entry companies. Alternatively, if you see yourself as a sex kitten, go for soft and curvy fonts like Georgia or Shelly.

People who use Sans Serif fonts like Arial Modern and Universal tend to value their safety and anonymity. Comic Sans, conversely, is the font for self-confessed attention-seekers because it allows for more expression of character.

Sample celebrity fonts, according to the Lexmark study:

– Jennifer Lopez (sex kitten) Shelly

– Peter Mansbridge (trustworthy and respectable) Times

– Richard Branson (professional yet appealing) Verdana

– Tom Green (attention-seeker) Comic Sans

– Ricky Martin (sexually ambiguous) Palatino

When you’re writing those life-altering letters, you would be well advised to bear two rules in mind:

– Size matters: particularly for power letters, make sure that the font is small and minimalist. Less is definitely more. Large fonts reveal certain insecurities.

– Match your font to your message: a good point to remember when writing resumes. Use Times when applying for traditional positions and Verdana for more contemporary companies. If you’re writing your resignation letter, be professional and don’t let them know that they upset you — use Courier New for automaton-like coldness.

Dr. Sigman concluded: “The technology to express yourself through your choice of font is at its peak and very accessible. Using the wrong font may give people the wrong impression about you and could effect decisions that will shape your future.”

Paul Kreutzer, director of Lexmark Canada’s consumer printer division said: “The technology and tools you use to create your printed page are just as important as the words you put on them. Using an appropriate

font is key to communicating the right message.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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