The World’s Most Expensive-looking Font Might Surprise You
By Madeleine Morley for AIGA
When you hear the word “luxury,” it’s easy to conjure up the colors gold, silver, and velvety purple; yet when it comes to typography, what we associate with wealth is less clear-cut. For the ancient Greeks, rare and precious purple ink came from sea snails found deep in the ocean, a dye so difficult to obtain it was reserved for kings. We don’t mine the sea for letters of the alphabet though, so what’s the typeface equivalent of purple ink, the fanciest looking font?
Writer and typographer Sarah Hyndman, whose last book explored the tastes we associate with different fonts, investigated the relationship between typography and cost in her latest survey at the V&A in London. Hyndman sought to find out whether a font can truly make a product appear more expensive, and also whether certain typographic characteristics have been consigned to the bargain bin.
After surveying over 368 people, the results suggest that bold typefaces with rounder terminals appear cheaper, whereas lighter weights, serifs, and contrasts are rated appear more expensive, with the modern Didot selected as the diamond of all fonts. This is perhaps, unsurprising; the serif is associated with fashion and you can find it on the mastheads of magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.