The perception of qualities in typefaces: a data review

ANDREA PIOVESAN*, Michele Sinico, Luciano Perondi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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The selection of an appropriate typeface is fundamental in numerous contexts. For example, a typeface that communicates the correct qualities increases the probability of buying a product, perceiving a brand as trustworthy, increasing the time spent exploring a website, and communicating a message effectively (Huang & Liu, 2020; Johnson-Sheehan, 2014; Velasco, 2019). However, professionals report struggling to find the most appropriate typeface for their project and spending a considerable amount of time in the search (Wu et al., 2019). This is in part due to the lack of information regarding which qualities each typeface communicates (Wu et al., 2019). In fact, the data that exists on the subject is scattered across several research articles. Consequently, professionals have few tools that help them choosing the appropriate typeface based on scientific data rather than personal experience (O’Donovan et al., 2014). The current review aims to provide professionals with a scientific support for the choice of the appropriate typeface by collecting this scattered data in a single place. We described the findings of 34 studies that asked participants to rate the perception of 229 qualities in 635 typefaces, and we created a unified dataset where data is easily comparable across multiple studies. We believe this work will make designers’ messages more effective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-79
JournalVisible Language
Issue number2
Early online date28 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2023


  • Typefaces
  • Perception
  • Communication
  • Semantic qualities
  • Affective review


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