Thursday, February 11, 2010

WHAT DOES YOUR FONT SAY ABOUT YOU?

I'm about 1/4 the way through this discussion.  My first thought is people really need to learn the art of discussion and debate and stop getting offended by someone elses opinion.  Why do so many people personalize any sort of criticism?  Granted, the original post could have been worded better, a little less critical and a little more helpful, but some of the responses would like to dismiss the whole subject because of the 'tone' rather than looking past it to actually find the message within.

A few other people have come along later in the thread to relay the message in a more pleasing tone, but it appears that some are still stuck on the original post and totally miss the points made.

What I got from it is that there are a few fonts that are overused and misused.  I have absolutely no graphic design background and couldn't tell the difference between  arial and zippedy doo da.  What I do know is that on a subconscious level I do associate certain attributes to certain fonts.  Just like the signage I see on brick and mortar stores gives certain impressions about the content within.  Not that a fancy sign necessarily means that the stuff inside is fancy or of good quality, but to put forward that impression might at least get a customer through the door and possibly purchase something.  I can't speak for anyone else, but if there were two dress shops with exactly the same merchandise inside and one had a fancy, professional looking sign and the other had a hand painted posterboard sign, I'd probably be more inclined to go into the first store because I would feel a little more confidence.

I think it's just another part of an overall look you are trying to achieve.  Like your photos.  Blurry pictures, poorly lit pictures, pictures taken at a distance and don't allow for any view of the details are usually a put off.  While it may not be a reflection of the quality of the merchandise, it gives the impression of poor quality.  What is that saying about first impressions?  When you go on a job interview, you try to present yourself in the best light possible.  If you are one of a hundred applicants, and your qualifications are all pretty much the same, then the choice will depend on other things.  Personality, presentation and someone who gives the impression of being a good fit for the position.  They can't really know for sure, so they go with the candidate that best fits their aesthetic.

Someone mentioned that anyone could buy a professional banner so it's not really a reflection of the quality of the merchandise in a shop.  A crappy crafter could buy a really impressive banner, but it doesn't improve the quality of their stuff.  Very true.  Just like a crappy crafter can hire a professional photographer to take their product shots and make them look like a million bucks.  But truth be told, which will you be more likely to look at, the poorly lit, blurry picture of something that could be of great quality or the fabulous, artful shot of something that is (not so obviously) poorly crafted?  the whole point about signage is to get people through the door.  The merchandise then has to meet the customer's satisfaction.  It's just window dressing, but it is a proven fact that the more attractive the outside, the better your chance of enticing the customer in through the door.

So, what does this mean on Etsy?  If the site was set up in such a way that storefronts were the first thing that was visible to a shopper, then this might be an extremely important aspect.  If you were able to meander down a virtual street lined with shops, the signage would probably be of utmost importance.  But Etsy is more focused on the product shots than anything else.  I know as a shopper on Etsy myself, I barely look at banners, much less notice what font they use.  If I am drawn into a shop by a product they carry, my next focus is to see what else they have that I might like as much or better, or if they carry (in the case of supplies) other things I can combine to stretch my shipping dollars.  Is this to say that banners aren't important?  Not at all.  They definitely have their place as a part of a cohesive, overall look, but I'm inclined to think that it's not on the top of the list when judging whether or not to purchase from a particular shop.

My ex-husband is a musician.  We couldn't go to a concert, whether it was a symphony orchestra or local bar band that he wouldn't at some point start critiquing the music.  It drove me nuts that he couldn't just sit and listen and enjoy (or not) in silence.  It dawned on me later that this type of behavior is inherent in one who is intimately familiar with a subject.  I, as a maker of jewelry, find myself looking at other makers of jewelry and noticing things that would probably not be on the layperson's radar.  Such is the case of banner fonts.  Those with graphic backgrounds or backgrounds where fonts play an integral part of their craft will always look at that aspect of a shop much closer and more critically than a layperson.  I believe any perspective they can offer should be considered, and assessed and used as readily as product photography advice, or any other advice offered as a way to improve your shop.

Does that mean that everyone should change their banner text because they are using Papyrus or Comic Sans?  Of course not.  But, if it got you thinking about whether or not your banner text is portraying the look you are trying to achieve, then that is a good thing.  If it expands your knowledge base on something you formerly had no clue about, that is also a good thing.  Push your delicate sensibilities aside for a few moments and actually look at the information presented.  You can take it or leave it, but do it based on the actual information presented and not the 'tone' you think it's presented in.

3 comments:

PussDaddy said...

I don't know a damn thing about fonts either. And I don't go around saying OMG that is the 10th time today I saw that same damn font, WTF is up with that overused font? I just judge stuff by what "look" I am trying to achieve or whatever, like do I want a retro hippy flower power style, a vampiric gothic horror look, and stuff like that. I can't honestly say that I have spent a lot of time, in fact I have spent zero time analyzing fonts of banners and stuf of people I have bought from. But I am the type that if I want it I don't care if the pic is fuzzy, the banner is blurry, or even if they don't have one, I am going to buy it anyway.

PussDaddy

PussDaddy said...

I think you summed it up though that people whose work deals with fonts have fonts on the brain, while most people don't give a flying font. Just like people who crochet notice slipped stitches in other people's work, and jewelry people notice that another jewelry makers' loops aren't the same size exactly, and stuff like that, while most people wouldn't notice unless they really concentrated on it.

PussDaddy

PussDaddy said...

I was given this Sunshine Blog award, and I have to pass it on to 12 people.

http://pussdaddyblogs.blogspot.com/2010/02/i-was-given-sunshine-blog-award.html

I chose you because I like reading your blog and enjoy you as a person. A lot of people don't like to mess with it, and I can understand that so don't feel obligated. I did put a lot of thought into who I passed it on to though if that means anything. I hope you accept it. Have a wonderful day,

PussDaddy