Designers correct: Font choice affects grades

Put your paper into Georgia, a serif font, and your grades may rise.

Some enterprising fellow at Fadtastic did the research (now available here in archives), and discovered Georgia-fonted papers tend to get A grades, Times Roman-fonted papers get A- grades, and Trebuchet-fonted papers get B grades (“The Secret Lives of Fonts).

Of course, that’s what the type designers, book designers and web designers have been telling us for 20 years — a serif font is easier to read, and makes the reader feel more at ease. When graders feel good, the paper gets a good grade. That’s logical.

Georgia Font examples, from Wikipedia

Georgia Font examples, from Wikipedia

I also discovered that when faxed to news editors, sans serif fonts get better play. If the press release is legible, it goes farther.

And, when I was taking broadcast courses, my grades rose significantly when my IBM Correcting Selectric II arrived, and I started doing all my scripts in Orator font. The teacher, an active newsman at the time, graded higher when he recognized the font more — it was roughly the same font on the teleprompter at his station.

Pick your font and your transmission method accordingly.

The author of this non-scientific study is a web designer, of course.

I’ll bet you’ll find that conclusion, backed with some sort of research, in the book design and web design texts.

Remember when we all used typewriters, and such choices were not options at all?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Graceful Flavor.

5 Responses to Designers correct: Font choice affects grades

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Surely someone has continued this research since 2008. Is Baskerville more effective than Georgia?

    Still, that makes serif fonts more effective than sans serif fonts.

    Is there a journal of font selection?

    Hadn’t seen that story in the Opinionator, Jason. Thanks.


  2. What about Baskerville? In the study mentioned in this NY Times article, it beat Georgia:


  3. Chris says:


    They teach this in professional writing seminars and writing development workshops. It would have been useful, I imagine, during my HS and College years…


  4. […] Designers correct: Font choice affects grades via Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub by Ed Darrell […]


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