Emotional and persuasive perception of fonts

Percept Mot Skills. 2008 Feb;106(1):35-42. doi: 10.2466/pms.106.1.35-42.


The aim of this study was to explore the latent affective and persuasive meaning attributed to text when appearing in two commonly used fonts. Two satirical readings were selected from the New York Times. These readings (one addressing government issues, the other education policy) were each printed in Times New Roman and Arial fonts of the same size and presented in randomized order to 102 university students, who ranked the readings on a number of adjective descriptors. Analysis showed that satirical readings in Times New Roman were perceived as more funny and angry than those in Arial, the combination of emotional perception which is congruent with the definition of satire. This apparent interaction of font type with emotional qualities of text has implications for marketing, advertising, and the persuasive literature.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advertising
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Communication*
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Form Perception*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marketing
  • Middle Aged
  • Newspapers as Topic
  • Persuasive Communication*
  • Reading*
  • Writing*