The purpose of an advertisement is typically to attract future customers and sell a product. There are many factors that contribute to an advertisement's success, including a clear marketing message, persuasive writing and ability to capture the reader's attention. One important, yet often overlooked, aspect of an effective advertisement is font choice. Sometimes, the difference between a future customer reading an ad or ignoring it depends on the font.
Serif fonts typically have curled features at the ends of the letters, numbers and symbols. They are commonly used in the body copy of advertisements, and include Times New Roman, Garamond, Schoolbook, Georgia, Baskerville, Sanford and Oxford. Some experts say that the serif font can boost reading speed as well as increase reading comprehension, because the curved letter strokes help guide readers to the next letter. This type of font is usually best for direct mail, newspaper, magazine and other printed types of advertisements.
Sans-serif fonts, also called gothic fonts, are commonly used in web-based advertisements, including landing pages, e-mails and banner ads. They are easy to read, and include Arial, Calibri, Verdana, Tahoma, Trebuchet, Lucinda Grande and Helvetica. This type of font usually appears to be more modern than the serif font. Internet advertisements typically use sans-serif fonts in headlines, along with serif fonts in the body copy.
When an advertiser wants to use the same font in both web and print advertisements, semi-serif fonts are commonly used. They typically have a fixed width and are similar to traditional newspaper fonts, as well as commonly used in text-only e-mail advertisements. Some examples of this type of font include Courier, Courier New, Monaco, Portobello and Divona.
Some advertisers use customised fonts to fit the company's branding message. These fonts can look like a child's handwriting or calligraphy. Many of these types of fonts utilise characteristics from more mainstream fonts, such as serif or sans-serif, but change the height or width of the letters. These fonts are usually more successful when used in the headlines or subheadings, and in conjunction with a more traditional font in the body copy of the ad.