I've previously written about the value of being selective with the fonts you use for eLearning. The right font selection can mean the difference between your content being taken seriously or not. Why spend the time pouring your time and effort into solid content, only to have your learners question its validity--solely on the basis of a poor font choice?
Now there is more research to back up the theory that fonts encourage trust (or lack thereof) in content. Writer-filmmaker Errol Morris asked readers of the New York Times last month to read a passage from David Deutsch's "The Beginning of Infinity" and then presented them with the question, "Do you think Deutsch's claim is true? Is it true that 'we live in an era of unprecedented safety'?" The question was presented as though it was a test of optimism or pessimism of the reader. In reality, it was testing the effects of fonts on truth. What the readers didn't know was the Deutsch passage was being presented to them in different fonts (Baskerville, Comic Sans, Computer Modern, Georgia, Helvetica, or Trebuchet).
The results are charted below:
Images via Benjamin Berman
The overall assessment: despite the fact that the content was exactly the same, when the passage was presented in Baskerville it garnered more trust. When it was presented in Comic Sans it garnered the least. The study is pretty interesting; I encourage you to read it here.
Added font fun: check out these faces drawn using only letters from popular fonts.
AJ teaches a live, 3-hour class that offers tips/tricks for improving the look and feel of your PowerPoint presentations: Slide Sprucing: Remodeling Lackluster PowerPoint Slides for eLearning and Presentations.