In 2012, filmmaker Errol Morris wrote a short piece for the New York Times Online pondering the likelihood of death by asteroid. He then asked readers if they felt that "we live in an era of unprecedented safety," and how confident they felt in their answer.
Mr. Morris didn't let readers know that the piece would appear in one of six fonts at random. The results were statistically significant:
Those who had read the piece in Baskerville "were the most likely to believe it and the most convinced of their choice" Those who read the piece in Comic Sans were least likely to believe it, and least sure of their answer.
Morris's experiment promoted a question that has led to several follow up studies: "Can we separate the form of writing from its content?"
We know intuitively that font choice is important simply because each of us has preferences in fonts we like to read or type with. Company marketing divisions put a lot of thought into choosing the typefaces that are appealing and best represents their products.
But what about the health industry? More recent studies show the chosen font on prescription bottles impact how likely patients are to read potential side effects, and individuals are more likely to stick to a new exercise routine if the instructions are presented in a simple and clear typeface.
Exploring the relationship between information and the font in which it is presented is still a relatively new area of study, especially in the health industry. It will be interesting to see if and how typefaces can impact health in a major way.
Contact us if you have any thoughts on the subject, or to submit your own font creation.