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Thursday, 24 May, 2001, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
The font of all personality
Different font styles
Typeface analysis: graphology for the 21st century
The choice of font used in e-mails and type-written letters could say more about an individual's personality than their creative writing skills.

Graphology - the art of studying handwriting - has been used for centuries to try to analyse people's characters, but since the demise of personal handwriting, the experts have moved on to typefaces to look for clues to our identities.

If the experts are correct, choice of font could prove important when writing a letter to your bank manager or a spurned lover.

The Psychology of Fonts, commissioned by Lexmark Printers and written by psychologist Dr Aric Sigman explains how a typeface will significantly influence what the reader thinks about you.

Courier is seen as the choice of "sensible shoes" type of people or "anoraks" and curvy icons like Georgia or Shelly suggest a bit of a "rock chick" personality.

The study suggests fonts can be matched to top personalities, and cites the following examples:

  • Kylie Minogue (the sex kitten) - Shelley
  • Ian Beale (the cheapskate anorak) - Courier
  • Richard Branson (professional yet appealing) - Verdana
  • Anna Ford (trustworthy and respectable) - Times
Dr Sigman said: "Using the wrong font may give people the wrong impression about you and could affect decisions that will shape your future."

Size matters

Font size is also important, especially for power letters where less is definitely more and a smaller typeface is preferable.

Applying for a new job? Then choose Times for your CV for a traditional company and Verdana for a more contemporary firm.

Use Courier New for "automaton-like" coldness, perhaps when resigning from a job on bad terms.

The study found rectilinear fonts were more appealing to men, while the more round and curvy fonts with prominent tails were favourites with women.

Serif styles such as Times New Roman show a compromise between old and new, conjuring up images of trustworthiness that have made them a favourite of solicitors.

Conclusions drawn from the study were that there is a huge opportunity for people to express themselves through font style, which people should exploit more fully.

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