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21st Febuary 2018

Beautiful Obsession

Keith Flynn is the author of this blog and Creative Director of Trademark Studio.

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The Trademark studio blog directory is filled with intresting notes, stories and helpfull information helping business understand the value of investing in problems and how a well implemented design progra can generate the right kind of exposure for the intended audience. 

Beautiful Obsession.

Typography: The creator’s panacea.


Why try to call it anything else? There are so many variations of the word obsession. What are the reasons why we do things to extreme lengths? Some people do things obsessively because it produces results, others do things because they feel they have to just get it right. Fascination, preoccupation, fixation and so on, a beautiful obsession is not beautiful as a result of the focus of the obsession, it is the nature and raw value a person has in their appreciation of something. The difference between passion and obsession is; with passion we won’t lie, cheat or steal to reach the goal. When we are passionate we are patient, meticulous and methodical. These are the principles that are behind any good commercial, and are the panacea for the visual communicator.

           “Advertising is a form of persuasion it happens to be used by business but it should be used in almost all other areas where communication is important because we have developed a skill in persuasion which can form public opinion and nothing is more important to the world today then the prop of developing a public opinion” (Bernbach 1987).


       Our social landscape is alive with colour and stylised messages, rhythmic typefaces that call to us while fighting for our attention. The way that these messages enter our subconscious is a science and has been practiced for the many years, this report will reveal the degree and depth of the study. It is important to first understand the hierarchy of fluency in how people respond to visually communicative medium. Initially we are stimulated by colour, then pictorial references and then to writing.

       “We propose that aesthetic pleasure is a function of the perceiver’s processing dynamics: The more fluently perceivers can process an object, the more positive their aesthetic response”(Reber,R. Schwarz,2004).

It has been described by a television BBC programme in 2005 that “fonts were depicted as being either feminine or masculine, among other traits. Feminine fonts were described as fine, serifed, sleek and elegant; masculine fonts were characterised as being blocky and bold” (BBC,2005).

       When considering a brand identity and analysing a particular target audience studies have revealed that the poetic rhythm of a feminine script would generally appeal to females as women value elegance and sophisticated style more than the average male. The average male doesn’t particularly have distaste for style but rather a greater appreciation for a straight to the point masculine tone of voice.

Not only is the typeface important in this context but further on in other sub contexts how the literal sound of the word resonates and relates to the style of the typeface. Also when closely comparing the two brand identities of Nestle Yorkie and Kellogg’s special Kit it is obvious for whom each product is aimed at. In this context it is also due to note that most romantic comedy movies released have the magic combination of red text on white background. These movies are entitled using a variation of a chunky and sans serif typeface to evoke an air of humour. A bold or overemphasised typeform creates harsh visual interpretations of the content within and coupled with a witty title in an appealing colour is only asking for the attention of a particular kind of woman. The typographic element in any communication has the potential to considerably influence, motivate and process messages in a style that suits the target market.

       Findings have indicated that “not only is typography capable of affecting consumer ability to process ad-based brand information, but that the effects of various typographic characteristics are highly interactive” (McCarthy2002).

How we perceive messages is greatly influenced by how it is written but what happens to how we feel after we receive this information. When only considering type and not the message people are generally influenced before they even process the information. A typeface can look relaxed, practical, unapproachable and so on. These emotions can be stirred in people with high degrees of fluency and it is the job nay the passion of the creative professional to awaken the self-will the clients target audience.

       Two groups of people to were asked to complete an exercise each group was given a set of instructions one in Arial font and the other in a brush Font. The group with the Arial font guessed that their task would be easier. The brush font readers guessed the task would take nearly twice as long. The findings were a result of something called Cognitive Fluency, which means that the more simple and fluent something is as we read it, the easier it is for us to understand and process it. This makes the task seem easier to complete, and as a result, people were more likely act favourably toward the task. So, by keeping the font simple, it increases the chance of success when asking customers to take action towards something (Song,H.2008).


       Many might consider typography to be just about the visual styling of letters but what I have found is that type is initially about people rather then the art. Looking at how a message travels and how it is received isn’t a new concept, but what has also been revealed is that there hasn’t been much development in this area as one might perceive. Knowing these dynamics are paramount for a designer as we need to know who we are talking to and how to talk. The only way to attain data about a particular type of person is to undertake the market research. These findings will tell us the buzz words, colours, shapes, sounds and tastes so that we can show the wide-eyed target audience in the hope that they will make a decision that will benefit the client.

           “Aim low and miss. Isn’t a cop out. It’s not a resignation to failure the misguided whoring of futility rights; it’s the hot pursuit of defining success relative to your own creative goals, free from the shackles of social expectation and the cathode ray phone-in public vote. It’s a personal vote for hyperbole-free-happiness neither totally nailed nor smashed, not standard, not ‘put down’, high fived nor dragon-approved; not the richest, fastest, strongest, biggest, thinnest, sexiest… just a wonderful ‘doowutchyacan’ life, neither more nor less ordinary. If at first you don’t succeed then failure may be your style” (Anderson, 2012).

Whatever we use to persuade, evoke, satisfy, induce, conjure, coax or just influence we owe the pay cheque to creative research, the passionate will and a deep understanding of the many human conditions.

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