I have a client who runs a fairly traditional transport business; no thrills, creativity or fun about it.
Until recently, he has been using a combination of
Bookman Old Style Boldfor headings with
Comic Sans MSfor main content on all internal and external documentation.
I have tried to explain in a neutral manner (without offending) that his ongoing clients expect a level of professionalism that Comic Sans just does not represent, despite that he has often stuck to his guns.
As the person who makes most of the new documents, I have sort of forced him to change over a long period by simply using Bookman Old Style alone, and avoiding the topic of font when discussing the work. This is not exactly kosher in my opinion, as I’m making a decision for him.
How can I explain the reasons for using or not using a font, in a clear and concise manner?
How do you describe the effect that a font will have? Are there a set of broad categories that you can use to describe fonts (and maybe their personalities)?
As a general guideline, you can’t reason someone out of a decision they didn’t reason their way into. If Comic Sans gives him the fuzzy-wuzzies because it looks cozy and friendly, you have to point out the emotional impact it has on his clients/vendors. (That is, it makes him look like he’s running his shop out of his basement.)
As far as tactics go, try this:
Go through the papers on his desk and in his files. Find any examples of similar documentation from any other companies. Also grab copies of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, etc. whatever publications he might respect.
Ask him if he finds those documents to be serious and professional. Ask him to try to articulate why. Ask him if his bank statements come in Bookman etc. or in Comic Sans.
Point out that none of the professional, money-handling, serious businesses use Comic Sans, or any other handwriting font. (At this point I’d get sarcastic and point out that none of them use crayon either, but that’s just me.)