Ever wonder what your typeface says about you?
My inbox is jam-packed with e-mails from corporate communicators, journalists, and PR agents. Not only does each writer have a different message, but each uses a distinctive typeface to express it. I spend a large part of my day sorting through a mess of curly Q’s that dissolve into wide, bold-faced W’s.
Don’t even get me started on Wingdings.
Do you have a favorite typeface? And what do you think it says about your personality?
Here, a primer:
If you’re using Comic Sans, it’s a wonder you still have a job (other than with a preschool or a carnival). This typeface was even slammed in a Wall Street Journal article. Ragan’s graphic designer describes it as “the laughing stock of the font world.” Might want to re-do that press release.
Times New Roman
A universal, classic choice. When it comes to communicating your message, you play it safe and don’t take any chances. Co-workers see you as dependable, straightforward, and clear. Some might think you’re boring, but just wait ’til they hear stories about your Showcard Gothic stage.
For a while, you were rocking out with Arial, but wanted the drama and sharpness that only Arial Black could provide. Now, you see yourself as bold, powerful, and direct. Just don’t let it go to your head.
You’re tech-savvy, quick to measure your company’s ROI on its newest social media efforts. Your message is always clean and legible.
Writing in ALL CAPS got you a negative review from your boss. So, you’ve compromised. But you’re still hungry for attention.
A natural conversationalist, reporters love talking to you. You dress in trendy business casual, and you’re on your way to climbing the communications ladder. Oscar Wilde would be envious of your epigrams.
Well-rounded and knowledgeable, you’re not afraid to take chances. Instead of sticking to tepid fonts, you’ve tracked down one to fit your personal style. It’s there in the name: bold. This is how you approach your job as a corporate communicator: If there’s something you want, you go after it.
When your workday is finished, you dedicate yourself to penning The Great American Novel. You wear horn-rimmed glasses, enjoy a glass or two of tawny port, and have a collection of 1920s-art deco style postcards in your cubicle.
Old English Text
Dear grandfather of corporate communications: maybe it’s time to retire. Spend your golden years with a pint at a bar, not complaining about the whipper-snappers on Twitter.
You’re a popular, respected communicator. Once you were elected as class president in fifth grade, you knew you were on the road to greatness.
Keep that confident swagger as you walk into rooms, because everybody copies your style.
Keep reaching for the stars. You’re a corporate communicator who wants to live the dream in NYC and get noticed in a big, splashy way. Chin up, Omaha. You’ll get there, someday.
You’ve got a large following on Twitter, mostly because your co-workers and contacts are scared of you. Stop lurking behind those filing cabinets, will ya?
You like good, calculated fun. You’re a favorite at communication conferences, because you’re always organizing happy hours and making new friends. But stop buying everybody else mojitos, Calibri. Join in!
Bradley Hand ITC
You’re torn between print and cursive, so this is your happy medium. As a corporate communicator, you can be seen as indecisive and hard to read. If you want to change your image, learn how to hold a pencil correctly.
You’re a recovering journalist/smoker, trapped at a corporate communicator’s desk. You still type out press releases in Courier New, just for ol’ times’ sake.
By day, you’re a no-nonsense corporate communication exec for a Fortune 500 company. At night, you dream about opening a day spa for Pomeranians. Your wife doesn’t know this side of you.
High Tower Text
To you, communication should be polished and stylized. Stick to the script, stay with your talking points, and don’t forget to smile big for that entry into “Who’s Who” among corporate communicators.
You’re loud and abrasive, and you curse like a Somali pirate. You liken yourself to Rahm Emmanuel. But you’re the spokeswoman for an office supply company.
You dream of communicating with people through hand-written notes. With a passion for the arts, you’re the most creative person on your communication staff. Everyone swoons over your hand-crafted, decoupage press kits. They have no idea you’re frantically craving your next absinthe.
This article first appeared on PRDaily in January 2011.